Maul Cosplay, a cosplayer based in the US, has recently posted his Last of Us cosplay photoshoot pictures. At first glance, the pictures seem surreal as they look exactly as if they were from the game and almost every friend whom I shared it with thought it was the real deal. They were temporarily excited at the prospect of seeing Last of Us 2’s artwork, only to be slightly disappointed that it was actually cosplay. However, they were still amazed at the beautiful and emotion-inducing photos.
Maul has also done several amazing cosplays aside from Joel such as Geralt from the Witcher series and Snake from the Metal Gear franchise as well.
While the pictures in itself are absolutely stunning with Maul portraying Joel to a T, the beauty of the photoshoot comes not solely from the visuals but the text as well. There, Maul expressed his wish to go beyond simply taking good pictures for a photoshoot. He wanted to use the power of social media to spread awareness and to impart important messages unto others.
In the text, he described how he went to Chernobyl with an extremely talented team, to snap these amazing photos as he aimed to educate and remind others of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. While post-apocalyptic games may be fun to play and at times to even joke about, he wants people to remember the true horrors of such settings when they actually happen in real life. He wanted to imbue a sense of responsibility unto future generations so that they would know to avoid such devastating consequences in the future.
He wanted people to treat the earth with dignity and respect, to not over exhaust the precious resources given to us merely for riches. In his photo descriptions, he paints a rather morose story about the atmosphere of the environment as well as his interactions with people who have lived and lost loved ones. These descriptions further pack a punch as we come to understand and sympathise with the plight that befell Chernobyl and its past and present inhabitants.
One of his core messages is that he dares us, the people, to speak up irregardless of whether we cosplay or not. He wants people to remember that their voices are important and that they are able to evoke a change no matter how minute, as long as they have the guts to speak their mind about the injustices of life.
While I think this message is powerful, most people need to take this with a pinch of salt because what some people say may be rather controversial and uncouth if not well thought out beforehand. However in Maul’s case, the message he wants to send is objectively morally correct, giving his message more weight as it invites not heated social justice arguments, but a message that most can rally behind and unilaterally agree on.
Ultimately, Maul goes a step beyond making cosplay an enjoyable hobby and does his best to spread an important message to the masses with his truly inspirational and eye-opening cosplay. While some cosplayers may strive for fame and fortune, I think being able to advocate a positive social message through one’s cosplay is the ultimate achievement a cosplayer can attain.
Check out more of his breath-taking works here.
Photo credits: eosAndy
Makeup and Description: Maja Felicitas