So uh, it's been a year since I last wrote something worthwhile here, but let's face it these past years haven't really been that eventful. That totally changed now however with me finally going to Volta in Cosplay! I was accepted into this event which is an Italian cosplay photo event for the 2020 edition but well, a "thing" happened that totally ruined those plans. So when I was accepted as a participant for the 2022 edition I was overjoyed, and finally found some energy again to make totally new costumes. This is going to be a fairly lengthy post regarding text, but I'll sprinkle in some images so you don't suffer too much ;)
I'll be referring to individuals in this post by their online/instagram handles and put links to everybody at the bottom of the post!
First, I should probably explain a bit more in detail what the whole deal about this event is. Volta in Cosplay is an event solely focused on cosplay photography, where photographers and cosplayers apply to be selected as participants. If you're accepted, you reach out to the people you want to collaborate with and book shoots at the various locations offered by the arrangers in compliance with the owners of the establishments (for example historical sites, abandoned factories etc.). The event takes place over 3 days, and you're free to schedule as much as you like in those days. You'll also have to find somewhere to sleep during the event, but honestly it's not really that hard (and I'm definitely not the one to complain about staying at an Italian farmhouse with homemade wine.. :) ). Basically you're on your own with how you want to spend your time, and your badge will allow you in to the specific locations that the event has access to. The ambition for the event is to have really good photographers and really good cosplayers attending, and there's no bias for how many followers you have. Case in point I have (at the time of writing this) just barely over 1000 followers on Instagram and I was there! There's also no obligation to make your own costumes (I do, though) so long as you have a high ambition with your work. The passion and dedication are key to this event, and it's mutual from both cosplayers and photographers to really work hard and perform their best. The variation in costumes, franchises, character choices overall are very broad and likewise are the photographers' styles and workflow.
With that, I think you get the gist of what this event is all about (on paper at least). So let's move on to the "meat" of this post - my own experience!
For this event I decided to bring 4 costumes with me. The Penitent One (Blasphemous), Ornstein (Dark Souls), Integra Hellsing (Hellsing Ultimate) and Inosuke (Demon Slayer). Inosuke was kind of a last minute choice since I had originally planned to bring Esdeath, however logistics got in the way of that.
I had 13 shoots scheduled, so quite a lot! I would've liked to have a few more but my choice of costumes weren't super popular this time around and also I may have done a disservice to myself with only having TPO and Ornstein either in the morning or afternoon. These costumes are super warm to wear so I thought I'd be smart and have something else in the middle of the day which most likely made it harder for me to book photographers. Don't get me wrong though I'm really happy with the shoots that I DID have, and I'll be better prepared in case I'm accepted for the next edition. One would think that going to Pixelmania in 2019 made me smarter, but no... haha
As seems to be the tradition for my adventures down in Europe I went by car, together with my friend Breakingcraft (in the back seat) who participated as a photographer and Laakritz who was ever so kind to be my assistant!
As we happened to arrive a day early due to us collectively not understanding dates, we had some time before picking up our badges at the info point to check the nearby areas. There's a very specific location called Bus de la Lumaga inside Castle Cavriana that I needed to assess whether it would be possible for me to climb down the super narrow stairway or not so the extra time really came in handy.
Then we picked up our badges! I really like the design they went for and I can't wait to put it among my other event-collectibles
And of course it wouldn't be an event for me without some last minute speedpainting...
The Agriturismo / farmhouse we stayed at was super nice, similar to having a whole apartment to ourselves. Given that we were four people staying there the extra space was a blessing.
The first actual day of the event started on probably way too little sleep and not fantastic weather, but that was in my favor I feel. If it had been a lot of sun I would've suffered way more! I booked my first shoot of the event with Infinityspiralphotography, an American photographer who I've been friends with since Pixelmania 2019. We both agreed that it's easier to start the event with not only a good friend but also someone you share your living space with since that eliminates the risk of a no-show or confusion right at the start.
We shot one of my brand new cosplays - The Penitent One, down in the Bus de la Lumaga!
"The fuck is this"
And of course the mandatory selfie at the end.
After that shoot it was time to hustle on to the next one! Sadly I don't have any BTS photos of it since one of my buttons on my suit jacket decided to take a leap of faith and Laakritz had to go on a quest through basically the entire little town to try and find a safety pin. After already having gone on another fetch-quest to get a cigar (I feel so sorry for her hahahaha)!
Anyway I shot Integra Hellsing together with ygkphotography at the Palazzo Gonzaga! Also an American photographer, I guess this event I just felt like picking them all up and put in my little basket.
The third shoot of the first day was also Integra Hellsing at Palazzo Gonzaga, together with French photographer tehweiman and his assistant who herself had cosplayed Integra a while back! She was really helpful in placing every little hair correctly and fixing my cravat so everything was 100% on point for every single shot.
And of course the selfie!!
The final shoot of the first day was again with Infinityspiralphotography who had made an intriguing special suggestion for me, a -VERY- spicy cyber bikini thing which I of course couldn't resist 8) We shot this in an old abandoned (I guess?) NATO base!
Laakritz snapped this gorgeous behind the scenes photo too!
So with that my first day came to an end, already very hyped about the shoots and excited for the Saturday. Of course this evening also came with some cosplay prep-work since I forgot my usual chainmail for Ornstein at home with no time to turn around and get it. So I had to buy a new one on the way down through Germany. Bless the existence of Larp shops, without Mytholon I would've been toast for all the Ornstein shoots.
The first shoot for Saturday was Ornstein together with Italian photographer maddalenamontecchio_ph at Castello Cavriana. It was a very fun somewhat chaotic shoot - just as it's supposed to be for these events! Since it's very hard for me to see while wearing the helmet they had to pose me like an action figure once I was in the right spot hahaha
Trying to figure out what we're doing with our lives
And the mandatory selfie!
Right after that I shuffled my way down the castle hill to Villa Mirra for the second Ornstein shoot of the day with annahall92_ ! She had prepared and printed her moodboard and was so ready to get this show on the road. She also happened to be friends with one of my favourite youtubers "Pruld" who sent me a greeting through her!! It's always fun when the photographer knows the character you're cosplaying to a T and has cosplayed themselves, it makes the process a bit faster since I don't have to explain as much how stupid my costume is HAH
How you know that it's a pro shoot
Also her assistant was so precious!! I love this JoJo pose we struck
After that I had a loooong break, which was probably for the best given how little food and sleep I had up until this point (why are events always like this??). And also, I mean, I couldn't miss the chance to eat actual Italian pizza!! Then it was back down into the Bus de la Lumaga for another Penitent One shoot - this time with Italian photographer Irish Gerry! I am still at a loss for words how absolutely blown away I was when I came down and the whole room was lit with candles in every single little crevice in the walls. Almost like coming down the stairs and having a romantic dinner waiting for you, except it's me in a weird head-cone. This shoot was one that I was looking forward to the most, due to how excited Gerry was to book specifically The Penitent One. It's not that many people who are -that- into Blasphemous so it really lifted my spirits! Gerry and his assistant used smoke and colored lights and it was like an artistic buffet of just having a fun time
"The Penitent One and chill"
Unfortunately I didn't grab a selfie so huge facepalm for me in that regard, but Laakritz filmed a lot from this shoot so once I get my life sorted and make this in video format you'll be sure to catch a glimpse of the master behind the camera!
For the final Saturday shoot I got back into my suit of gold and had a shoot as Ornstein with Italian photographer Jerrytooth. I'm apparently not only collecting Americans but people who are named Jerry, hmm... We had the shoot in the top of Castello Cavriana!
I also happened to run into two other FromSoft cosplayers - Schildpadcosplay as Lady Maria and cjo_cosplay as the Hunter
After all the shoots were finished it was time for the big Saturday party at the Info Point! I had a great time hanging out with new acquaintances and also finally had the opportunity to tell people how awesome they are in a bit more relaxed setting. The parties are always a highlight to these type of events since I really feel in my element with people who are just as passionate as me about this hobby (or art)!
The Sunday was probably the busiest day for me out of the three, I started the day as Ornstein together with the aforementioned cjo_cosplay as Solaire! We had a shoot together with Italian photographer Roberto Donadello and despite all of us involved being very tired I think we had a fun time! We tried to make some images simulating a fight between Ornstein and Solaire and I can't wait to see the final photos. I rarely work with other cosplayers due to me picking characters that aren't popular at all in Sweden so it's a delight to do something like this!
I found a ledge to sit on and catch my breath for a few minutes and then it was time for the group photo! The group photo is the header for the Volta Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/IlVolta/) until the next event so make sure to check it out there before the 2023 edition.
The second shoot for Sunday was Inosuke with Italian photographer littlebearph, who works full time as a photographer and has 20+ years of experience! It was probably the most efficient shoot of the event since we not only had to take a 10-15 minute drive to the forest but also due to littlebearph knowing exactly what he had in mind and me wearing a costume that's easy to wear and pose in.
So after having the most comfortable costume of the event, it was time to get back into Ornstein. At this point i was kind of regretting all my life decisions. Laakritz on the other hand had reached speedrun levels of getting me dressed so it was pretty cool how we got everything on in around just 10 minutes!
For this shoot I was at the Library in Valeggio together with French photographer ktpphotocosplay! And the very cool Kefka in the background is jacosplayer.
Of course, the mandatory selfie!
Then we headed to pick up our photographer, French Adrie9512 for the second to last shoot as The Penitent One. We made use of the Valeggio Bridge which was a super cool location, and I'm pretty happy I didn't cause any traffic accidents since there's a road that you're allowed to drive on going across the bridge. Yes, we did have a small circle of curious people taking photos while we had the shoot which always feels awkward but that's how it is shooting outdoors in an area with a lot of people! At least we were very fortunate to catch the golden hour for this shoot, as both me and Adrie9512 had been pretty concerned when we made the booking that the light would be gone at that time of the day.
For the last shoot of the event I worked together with Santoscosphoto from Brazil again! I got to know them from Pixelmania 2019 when we shot my Lady Maria and I'm always hyped to have shoots with them since they're so excited for any costume that I bring. Adrie9512 was a champ and stayed during that shoot since he had to get a ride back to the Info Point - huge thanks for his patience!
Night time selfies are hard ok
I was really happy to round off the event with this shoot! Santoscosphoto always have a relaxed and happy vibe so it's perfect to keep my energy up and just have fun. Fingers crossed we'll be able to meet at another event in the future or if they're brave enough to travel to Sweden without freezing to death hahah!
And just like that, Volta was over for this edition. I'm hard pressed for words to describe how amazing this weekend was, and how fortunate I am to be able to work with so many professional photographers and share this passion. A massive thanks of course goes to Marco Tramonte who arranged for this to happen, year after year. I honestly don't know how he does it!
I'd also like to give a huge thanks to Laakritz for being the best assistant I've ever had the pleasure to bring with me, without her I don't know how I could've managed all of this.
Last but definitely not least - thanks to all the photographers who wanted to work with me, your dedication and enthusiasm reminds me of why I'm so invested in this hobby. I hope you got great photos from all the shoots you had at this event, and that your experience was just as good (if not even better) than mine!
I'll have my fingers crossed that I get accepted into next year's edition, and I can't wait to get started on my other plans for the summer.
Social media links for everyone mentioned in this post: