When Photographer Amanda Robinson and Fiction Author Spike Bowan got their heads together to create 3 Rivers Cosplay, it was a game changer for the world of geekdom and nerd life in the Pittsburgh area!
By: William Doyle
For those of you who don't know what "Cos-play" is:
For years, many people have created their own versions of costumes to mimic and celebrate their favorite fandoms. Star Trek and Star Wars come to mind at first thought.
Over the years costuming, now more popularly referred to as "Cos-Play", has grown into a world wide phenomenon. With charity costume clubs raising money for noble causes, contests at conventions, even having T.V. shows centered around the art and lifestyle of the world of Cos-Play; the lifestyle of costuming is truly a sight to behold.
"I created 3 Rivers Cosplay Studio, to promote the Cos-Play lifestyle in the Pittsburgh area. It was really just a community fan page on Facebook at first. Just a page to share costumes I saw at Convention in the Pittsburgh area. Then I met Amanda Robinson, and everything changed..." Fiction Author Spike Bowan says.
Working together on a book about cosplay, Amanda Robinson, owner of Panda Inc. Photography, and Spike Bowan, a.k.a. "Viper 3RC Cosplay", owner of Irregular Mischief Publications, LLC (and my boss, LOL); began to create something more than just a Facebook page.
They began hosting Free Photo Shoots for Cos-players in the Pittsburgh area. Themed and in very phenomenal locations, the photo shoots began to grow. They also provide Q&A Panels for conventions as well as Tips & Tricks Videos on how to complete certain Cos-play projects.
"We had around 9 Cos-players at the first shoot. We did the photo shoot at an old bank in the Pittsburgh's West End and it was themed towards Villains." Spike also says. "It was very cool! The massive vault in the background, Harley Quinn and Reverse Flash trying to bust in....it was like something out of the comic books!"
The next photo shoot was geared toward the completion of the book that Amanda and Spike are writing, with nearly 30 Cos-players in attendance. The representation of costume clad artists was staggering. There were even Cos-players that traveled from the esteemed Wilson's House of Cosplay in West Virginia that showed up.
From Fantasy to Anime, Horror to Sci-Fi, the photo shoots keep coming. Now, Amanda, Spike and 3 Rivers Cosplay are even being invited to host discussion panels and Cosplay judging at conventions both near and abroad. This October, Amanda, also a talented Cos-player, will be the Celebrity guest Cos-player and Panelist at "Save Against Fear" in Harrisburg, Pa. Spike will be the Celebrity Cos-player and Panelist at Slippery Rocks brand new gaming/cosplay Charity Convention "Rock-Con" which is raising money for the community library in Slippery Rock.
"I think Cosplay is a very healthy thing..." Amanda says. "Cosplay allows people to come out of their shell and to be something that they love" she also says. Their plans for the future include a YouTube Channel, POD Cast, Cos-play workshops and of course MANY more photo shoots!
With the growing following of 3 Rivers Cosplay, the face of Cosplay is changing for the better and even opening some eyes as to the benefit and fun that Cosplay can allow, all thanks to Amanda and Spike.
CEO Spike Bowan is the Pittsburgh based Actor/Director/ Author/ Creator of the Alternate History Genre/Fiction saga "War in the Backyard".
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