ego v alter-ego: a portrait project

As a small boy in the 70’s I once spent a day out and about shopping with my mum dressed as Dr Who. Well, actually it was Tom Bakers Dr Who. I was probably around 10 or 11.  I didn’t know it then but that was my introduction to Cosplay. My mothers best friend knew I loved that programme and had made me one of the iconic long scarves. I already had a longish jacket and a cowboy hat would have to stand in for Tom’s version, with a tyre air pressure gauge for a sonic screwdriver I was all set. My mum took me shopping for shoes in Byres Rd in Glasgow and I remember all the admiring glances and the chat from the shop staff to my mum. She was embarrassed, I wasn’t. Growing up I read comics and I loved any sci-fi shows or films that were going. This fixation continues to this day, although i no longer have the scarf or dress up like my heroes. But some folk do.

So here is the first in my new series. I’ve done portrait projects before, the iLFORD v iPHONE and my Girl who likes Hats. This is different though. This is going to be a long-term project that may become an ePub book.

All the subjects in this portrait project are going to be folk who take part in costuming, or Cosplay as it tends to be known. These are normal everyday folk just like you and me, except they spend their free time and money creating costumes to wear to conventions and other social gatherings all over the world. These costumes can take months to make and in some cases can be as good, if not better, than the originals. The project aims to uncover who these people are and why they choose to do what they do. Which is the ego and which the alter-ego?

1: Steph, Bar Manageress,

portrait of Steph, Manageress of bar in England and Cosplayer. She is Loki


Steph works and lives in an area of the UK called Walsall. It’s a suburb of Birmingham, the second biggest city in the UK situated about 100 miles north of London. Currently she is cosplaying as Loki.

Loki, demi-god

image of Steph, dressed in her Loki costume


Loki is the Norse God of Mischief. He is adopted brother of Thor. His location is currently unknown but you can bet wherever he is there will be trouble.



These are just tasters of some of the images and reference material I am creating along the way to the finished project. If you are a cosplayer, or know a cosplayer who would like to be photographed and interviewed for this project please get in touch.

4 Responses to “ego v alter-ego: a portrait project”

  1. Jim says:

    Very cool idea for a Project Gordon – nice start with Loki – look forward to seeing more soon


    P.S. – are you planning on including any Historical Reenactment stuff ?

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Nice one, Gordon. Well, nice two, really! I like the portrait of Ego as much as Alter-Ego … both really interesting. Roll on more Avengers!

  3. admin says:

    wasn’t planning on historical re-enactment…but you have got me reconsidering!

  4. Sam says:

    This looks like an epic project- might help to dispel the negative press us cosplayers get at times. I’d certainly be interested in taking part. :)

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