photographer Mariya Kozhanova captured beautiful portraits of Russian youth who take part in a life of cosplay. For those unaware of the term, cosplay is the practice of wearing the costumes of fictional characters. These youth have adopted the trend, usually reserved for fan events like Comic-con, into their daily lives.
Since 2012, Kozhanova has been tracking down and documenting these dedicated cosplayers with stunning results. While these men and women have regular jobs and lead generally normal lives, this act of make believe is what they choose to do in their spare time.
Kozhanova explains that this generation of Russians was born during the collapse of the Soviet Union, a time when well organized society and established identity fell apart. This led to a lack of a formed identity from the beginning of their young lives, many of whom started to borrow from different cultures. A popular point of reference was the bright, sensational and superficial world of Japanese pop culture.
Kozhanova begs the question, are these new beliefs just a temporary detachment from the troubles and imperfection of everyday life or do they represent something much deeper?