So I’m part of this awesome organization called GAAM, which throws cool events (involving games, art and music), helps make video games, and raises money for charity. Our goal is to bridge the gap between the gaming and non-gaming audiences through our events. One of the events we host is a themed fashion and cosplay photoshoot. Models don’t need any prior experience, just a desire to be creative and have fun with the theme.
As GAAM’s Director of Photography, I get to photograph these peeps wearing creative cosplay and/or game-inspired fashion. Our first group photoshoot was Zelda themed and happened this past June to promote our “Legend of GAAM” summer show. Check out the photos here.
It was a great success, so of course we had to do it again =) Our second group shoot was an homage to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Here we go!
The Event: Teenage Mutant Ninja GAAM Group Photoshoot
The Time & Place: Sunday, Oct 6 at Dive Bar in downtown Jax
The Cast: About 15 GAAMster Models
So the day started fairly early, arriving on location at 9am to claim this alleyway that we used for the first set of shots. One end of the alleyway had these grungy posters that reminded me of NYC. We staged our first shot there featuring Ivonne Lopez as a sassy April O’Neil on the scene for an interview. And while April wields a mic, Dani Sikes as Donatello wields a bo staff (Dani’s actually had training with it!).
GAAM photoshoots feature a combination of cosplay and fashion, so even if you’re not a savvy sewing cosplayer, you can still piece together an outfit to give characters a modern-day twist. Check out Parris Parker (left) and Jessica Urmanec’s (right) modern and fashionable interpretations of Shredder:
Models could also choose from various hoodies, weapons, turtle backpacks, beanies, tank dresses, tutus and colored tights provided by GAAM and by our fab sponsors (listed at the end), as well as beautiful jewelry from Lisa Luxe. I was really tempted to take home one of the turtle hoodies and all of Lisa’s jewelry! Some of these items will be available during GAAM’s fashion auction btw.
Kelly Torres (left) rocks the hoodie with a killer stare as Leo. And I LOVE Ashley Hovatter’s (right) pairing of the tights with red leg warmers and heels. Who knew Raph was so fashionable?
One of my favorite parts of the group shoot was seeing different people’s interpretation of the same character. That day we had several Aprils, Casey Jones, and Karais.
Ivonne Lopez and Ashley Renee (right) work the yellow as our turtle-loving reporter.
Evan Morgan, Thea Ny (both left) and Marcus Sanchez (right) show off sporting equipment as Casey Jones. Batter up! (I don’t know what they say for hockey. Puck up? Stick up??)
Watch out! Katherine Margaritis (left) and Jannelle Hernandez (right) look deadly good with a sword.
And then we’ve got the turtles. Decked out in turtle shirts and color-coordinated tights and ninja headbands, the girls posed with…pizza, of course! That’s Sarah Mae in the middle as an adorable Kino feeling slightly overwhelmed by the turtles’ hunger.
My absolute favorite part of the shoot was staging a dance-club inspired scene from TMNT2. Luckily, most of the models stuck around so we could get group shots of everyone dancing to “Ninja Rap” and other 80s/90s hits played by our very own DJ Nes (he’ll be spinning at the next show, too!). Characters took turns dancing front and center. It was hilarious and my words won’t do justice to how fun this sequence was.
Btw, I officially dub Bebop, aka Josh McKie, the King of the dance floor!!!
The day finally ended around 7 or 8pm, with me feeling exhausted but satisfied. The shoot was still pretty chaotic but I think (hope) everyone involved still had lots of fun because I certainly did. Not shown in the pictures are the behind-the-scenes staff, such as the videographers and assistants (Ken, Jon, Laura, Corey), security guard Rob, DJ Nes, those dealing with admin craziness (Brown Bears, Aubrey, Chris, Holli), and the head of catering (Ryan Thompson). That’s by no means a comprehensive list since sooo many people are helping us, and I was running around so I’m not 100% sure who else was there haha.
Thank you to Dive Bar for letting us take over for an entire day! It’s a great space and GAAM hangs out there quite often. Come hang with us =)
And, of course, thank you once again to all the models who showed up, posed, danced, waited, and posed again. It means a lot that you guys cared enough to stick around and devote a day to us. For those who modeled for the first time, you were GREAT. I can sometimes give vague directions and just shout exclamations (“Do that thing you just did!” or “Ooooo, I really like that! Again!”) but somehow you all understood and created some wonderful images. Hugs for everyone!
Anyway, stay tuned for more photos and videos from the shoot in the coming weeks. If you haven’t already, please like GAAM and Klara Cu Photography to get notified when cool stuff like this is happening in the future. And remember to buy advanced tickets for our next show on December 7th!
P.S. If you liked what the models were wearing in the photos, here are links to our sponsors’ sites: