Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Costume by me
Photography by Sreeraj Sreenivisan
Edits by me
Location: Fremantle Harbour and Maritime Museum
Nearly four months ago I was nearly killed in a hit-and-run, I have no memory of the incident, nor the week that followed. Since then I’ve had to deal with injuries I don’t remember acquiring, it doesn’t feel real. I have two skull fractures, I am deaf in my left ear (hopefully temporarily), I was in a neck brace because of my fractured vertebrae, but the most debilitating part was my broken right leg with severe lacerations along the tendons. I was robbed of my ability to walk for months. Thankfully I wasn’t in a wheelchair for too long, but whether or not I’ll ever be able to walk properly without needing the crutch is unknown at this point.
While I recovered from the worst of my injuries, I stayed with my family, I didn’t have much else to do but play whatever games I had downloaded on my laptop, and that just so happened to be the Phantom Pain. What I got was an intense exploration of pain, loss and grief, I was shown characters who seemed to understand what I was going through and gave voice to these new feelings I couldn’t articulate. The opening of the game alone was some kind of nightmarish re-enactment of my hospital confinement. But it was Kazuhira that became a kind of spirit guide for me, because of him I feel no shame in my current physical limitations, if I need this crutch forever, so be it, no matter what I’ve lost, a Diamond Dog gets up and keeps on fighting.
I still haven’t been able to return to work, my circadian rhythm is completely unpredictable, so while I continue to recover, and when I’m not sleeping, or playing Metal Gear, I find myself inspired to make costumes again. This costume was entirely sourced in op shops, the only sewing I did was attaching the Diamond Dogs patch to the beret, and tailoring the trousers. I’m not so much interested in making everything from scratch and being 100% accurate to the source material. It’s more fun for me to source pieces, the thrill of the hunt, finding garments that evoke the character, and I just so happened to get lucky. I wasn’t going to make this a girly rule 63, that would be tacky, I wasn’t going to make this crossplay and try to pass myself off as male, that would be inauthentic. I just adapted Kaz’s costume for myself, with all the practicality and dignity his costume entails.
Another stroke of luck was the shoot, it had rained mere hours before we shot, but it was mostly clear skies when we needed it. It was cold, perfect for all the layers I had to wear, and just the right amount of wind to get us a few dramatic flowing trenchcoat shots. There also happened to be a real naval ship in the harbour too, although we couldn’t get too close.
It felt good to return to modelling, and I hope I can bring you more Metal Gear shoots soon.