Photographer captures the men (and women) behind the mask

One of Paul's fabulous pictures
One of Paul's fabulous pictures

A Wigan photographer’s striking adaptations of comic heroes is the subject of an exhibition at a local arts project this month.

Borough-based Paul Sherriff will showcase his Cosplay images at the Waterfront Arts Project in Southport.

Paul and another of his works of art

Paul and another of his works of art

Cosplay, a fast-growing worldwide phenomenon, sees comic book fans dress up as their heroes, or indeed villains, from Batman and the Joker to the X-Men.

Short for costume play, the hobby has become hugely popular at Comic Con events and Paul’s exhibition is a collection of images he has taken at recent conventions.

Paul, a dad-of-three from Highfield, has been interested in photography for decades and was thrown into the world of Cosplay at the Wigan Comic Con a few years ago.

He told the Evening Post: “My daughter suggested I should go and I was fascinated by the people dressing up as the characters and them having so much knowledge about them.

I’ve always loved taking pictures of people with character so I started taking these pictures and it snowballed from there with me going on the Comic Con circuit

Paul Sherriff

“I’ve always loved taking pictures of people with character so I started taking these pictures and it snowballed from there with me going on the Comic Con circuit.”

His exhibition, Alter Egos, is a selection of these images with an explanation of the individual behind the costume and the reasons why they enjoy Cosplay.

Paul, 57, said: “I think it’s interesting to get to know the people as well. Having got to know quite a few Cosplayers I find the reasons they do it interesting, some do it just because they love the character, some as a form of escapism others to raise money for charity but most of all to put smiles on peoples faces.”

Paul, who is a member of the Wigan-based Evolve Photography group, admits he is occasionally unaware of who some of the characters are but is always happy to hear the full background from the enthusiastic fans he is snapping.

Having his work displayed in an exhibition fulfils a life-long ambition and he hopes to stage many more in the future.

He said: “I have often been to art galleries with my wife and thought ‘wouldn’t it be fantastic to have people looking at your work in that way.’

“It has always been on my bucket list and I’m amazed by the generosity of people passing on compliments.”

Paul’s exhibition, Alter Egos, runs until October 21 at the Waterfront Arts Project located on Southport’s Promenade. For more information about his work visit https://www.facebook.com/PaulCosplayPhotographer/