A Q&A with Jay Tablante

30 Nov , 2011,
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For fans of comics and cosplay, Jay Tablante‘s something of a household name.

The internationally acclaimed photographer has worked with some of the greatest minds in comic book giant Marvel to craft stunning images that have brought characters like X-23, Emma Frost and Psylocke to dazzling life, and will be hosting his first ever Singapore exhibition at Grid MMS (*SCAPE) this Saturday.

Morrigan Aensland, by Jay Tablante. Used with permission.

Amber B-17 Decal, by Jay Tablante. Used with permission.

So what’s cosplay photography and cosplay like to someone who’s worked with celebrities like Yayahan, Alodia & Ashley Gosiengfiao? We find out.



Crimson: So Jay, why did you choose to hold your exhibition in Singapore, of all places? 

Jay Tablante: Singapore is a hub for a lot of things in Southeast Asia, and the arts is one of its growing strengths through out the years. It’s a good platform to get your works introduced regionally.

Crimson: I hear you’re big on comics. Who are your favorite characters? 

Jay Tablante: Firstly, Psylocke, because there’s something about hot female assassins that gets the fancy of a lot of fan boys. Elektra is also a close second to this criteria. Rogue. She’s similar to Psylocke – chicks who can kick butt are cool. And finally Gambit. His powers are just cool. I also like how Gambit retains his cool in a lot of situations.

Editor’s Note: (Anybody wanna cosplay one of these characters on Saturday? XD)

Crimson: So, what kinda qualities do you look out for in a cosplayer? 

Jay Tablante: It’d have to be someone who is meticulous with the details, and will not settle for anything less in quality. I am not looking for a model, but more of an actor, who could let themselves go and become the character they are cosplaying. I also like cosplayers who are very open to exploring new techniques, art direction and composition; the ones who would entrust me with the images, as much as I entrust them to produce the best costume they can.

Crimson: What’s cosplay photography to you, really? 

Jay Tablante: Illustrating has been a personal frustration of mine since I was a kid. I wanted to draw, but I couldn’t. What I imagined in my head simply wasn’t what my hands were doodling with the pencil. The closest I ever came to doing so was graphic design.

Back in college, I was introduced to photography. Being a geek and frustrated painter / illustrator, photography paved the way for me to realize my imagination. It was an immediate medium for me to come up with images. I started out with portraiture, eventually ended up doing fashion as the bulk of my workload.

But the geek in me never died. In fact, it grew and started to assert itself over the years. So I sought out a way to satisfy the inner geek – of trying to illustrate with my new found skill in taking pictures; if I couldn’t draw superheroes, I would make images of them with a camera.

Crimson: And you’ll be publishing a photo book about them too? Can you tell us more about it?

Jay Tablante: The book is called Geekology 101. I thought of using the same title of this exhibit in Singapore as a prelude to something bigger in 2012. So it becomes Geekology 101: The Book. It’s mostly made out of my personal portfolio over the years, but there’s a special emphasis on cosplay photography. It was this sub-genre that made the most impact in my work, hence the tribute.



Catch Jay Tablante at the “Geekology 101” exhibition this Saturday, 3rd December, at Grid MMS (2 Orchard Link, #04-01, GRID New Media Studios, Singapore 237978).

Doors open from 10 am to 9 pm, and Admission is free.

Other highlights also include a Seminar by Jay Tablante at 1 pm, and a Shooting Demo at 5 pm.

Registration for Seminar and Shooting Demo

We’ve heard your queries, so we’re opening pre-registration for Jay Tablante’s seminar and shooting demo. Places are limited (since the venue’s pretty compact) so register now to avoid disappointment.

Simply send an email to info@neotokyoproject.com with the Subject Header “Registration for Jay Tablante’s Seminar” or “Registration for Jay Tablante’s Shooting Demo” with your Name, NRIC and Contact Number to apply.