The new Tomb Raider game that was released recently has had a huge amount of praise and great reviews all around. Cosplay for Lara Croft has been expanding greatly and a lot of amazing ones are out there and a lot of excellent photographers have captured the character. I have always wanted to get a cosplayer to roll around in the mud and splash around in disgusting creek water – wait.. Did I really just say that?
I first saw this cosplay at a local Con, MTAC, and immediately got very interested. The Cosplayer is Ana Aesthetic and you have have seen her on my blog and pages before – I seriously had no idea she could pull off a Lara Croft so well. I immediately scheduled something for literally the next afternoon which was a nicer day since it was raining all weekend..
The rain made the creek muddy and difficult – but I wore my Army boots and camo! I have been wanting to find a reason to use the old military stuff in the closet – and this worked perfectly. The hike was not an easy one – especially with all the gear I trekked around. 3 Bags – 3 Lights – lots of batteries.. Not an easy carry. I was paying specific attention to light fall and where I can set lights as I rucked into the woods. I find forests and trees interesting and difficult to work with for photos – unless done very specific, it just looks like some boring looking trees.
For the main shot, I wanted to replicate the hurt/in pain and bleeding Lara shot that is famously in many of the cover arts for the game. This may have been the first time where I stood in as a makeup artist.. I grab rocks and mud and gross stuff and smeared it all over Ana to get her filthy and scratched up. We had to keep an eye on her skin tones to make sure we didn’t throw too much dirt on her.. otherwise she looks like a latino Lara (lol). For the first time, I weathered a leather harness and belts – know how I did that? I put it on the ground and stomped it into the mud and threw rocks at it – PERFECT! The fog/smoke you see in the background was my assistant using the very awesome cans of fog – it was a challenge because the wind kept changing directions constantly.. but this one landed spot on.
My initial thoughts would be to actually have Lara run through the creek for some action splash shots – that didn’t work out due to very slippery rocks. Yes, indeed we got wet – very wet. I don’t think I have felt slosh between my toes in my boots in over 10 years. Ana was totally cool and played along but we decided after the sun was setting that those shots were just not going to work and we moved on. I still wanted to incorporate the creek and water in a shot so I made sure it was included with my wide lens change.
Light was vanishing quickly and I really wanted to walk away with 3 keepers before packing up. I think I might of achieved that, but we had to hike back to the car in the pitch dark – was not loving life at that specific time!
The pistol that she brought photographed really well – It was just an airsoft pistol and looked totally fake in person.. but I think it completely changed once in frame. Ana picked up the Bow and Arrow set at the Renaissance Fair earlier last year and it was perfect for a Lara cosplay. The old wood look and twine gave just the right feel to the image and that is exactly what I was looking for.
Overall, this is some of my favorite imagery. Not only do I absolutely love the game, this has been a shoot inspired by many great photographers and cosplayers who have brought the character to life – it is just now that I decided to move with that inspiration and make a little something of my own
Huge thanks to Ana for letting me roll her around in the mud!
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