The Tank Girl Facebook page curated by Alan Martin is a great place to see some top-quality comic art. Martin regularly posts new work by his many all-star collaborators from over the years -- Jamie Hewlett, Mick McMahon and Jim Mahfood included. Tank Girl is a character that's always inspired a special level of devotion among her fans: Back when there was next to no cosplay culture in the U.K., Deadline magazine regularly featured photo spreads of that certain type of punky proto-Suicide Girl dressed as their heroine. I've gotten into the habit of looking through the page's "Recent posts by others" sidebar to see any fanart that has been sent to catch Al's eye. A while ago, I spotted the work of Scott Cole, a professional photographer who's taken the notion of Tank Girl cosplay and fanart to a whole other level with a set of shots replicating classic Hewlett images and poses. Cole put a few minutes aside to discuss the motivations and inspirations behind these pictures which perfectly capture the character's bad attitude.
ROBOT 6: Love these images. How do you describe your work, 'cause I'm not sure I've entirely the right frame of reference, myself?
Scott Cole: Thanks. My work has been described as sexy, edgy, gritty and creative. At the moment I've been focusing on tattooed models, mainly because it allows me to shoot more non-conventional shots, or to recreate classic sets (for example my black swan ballet set) from a different viewpoint. My worst nightmare would be to be commissioned to shoot wedding or baby shots. It's just not my thing!
How long have you been in the photography lark?
Eighteen years or so now. I started out as a motorsports photographer covering everything from karting to Formula 1. I followed that up as a tour photographer within the music industry, and the past couple of years I've settled into shooting tattooed ladies. Girls, music and fast cars, those are my interests.
So, Tank Girl. Are you a lifelong fan? A Deadline reader of old?
I have to admit I'm not a lifelong fan of Tank Girl, (though my girlfriend is a Deadline reader of old, I'm informed, they're all in the garage). It was actually suggested to me by a very talented designer called Elspeth who runs CuriologyOnline. She made several of the pieces for the shoot and I count myself fortunate to be able to collaborate with her. I brought legendary Doctor Who prop maker Nick Robatto of Rubbertoe Props on board again for the weapons, and the talents of makeup artist Alice Bizarre. I'm certainly a fan of Jamie Hewlett's artistic style, and thought it would be a great project to shoot. I chose some classic Tank Girl images that people would recognize, and adapted them to my style. It was a fun project to recreate, and the results have been well received so far. My only complaint was the weather, as we had an awesome tank available but owing to rain, had to shoot indoors. Another time perhaps.
Any other comic book heroines or anti-heroines you'd like to take a stab at recreating like this?
I've got a couple of new comic-inspired projects lining up that I'll keep to myself for the moment! It would be cool to do some of the classics ... Kitty Pryde, Wonder Woman, Ms. Marvel. Gen 13 is hot, Pretty much any of the characters, as long as they're not wearing too many clothes.
Where can we see more of your work?
Online I'm over at http://www.facebook.com/scottcolephotography -- publication-wise, lately I've been fortunate to shoot several of the latest Skin Deep Magazine covers and was featured in Tattoo Vixens 2 book by Jazz Publishing.
Cheers, Scott, and as a jobbing librarian I'd be remiss if I didn't ask what you're reading at the minute?
I'm currently reading Black Dye, White Noise by Sion Smith and wholeheartedly recommend it, if only for the Neil Gaiman interview.
All photography © Scott Cole 2012, used with permission.