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17 January, 2012

Videogame photography

For some reasons, videogames and photography are more linked that people might suspect. In my career I've noticed that many if not most of the top engineers I know, also dabble quite a bit in photography (well, I'm biased as I'm a rendering guy and my friends tend to be in the rendering circle). That includes myself (NFSW). But there is more...

Some notable videogame photographers are Robert Overweg, Duncan Harris (Dead End Thills), Francois Soulignac and Iain Andrews, but I'm sure there are way more out there, if you have links to share please comment on this post.

Robert's work focus on exploiting the limits and bugs of games to create artistic fine art series (which is not uncommon either), while Dead End Thills and Iain Andrews are more "conventional" screenshot artists: games get hacked to gain more control or improve quality and the end results are quite amazing!

Professional photographers also dabble in the media time to time. Of course, the main attraction seem still to be the players, and not the games, as in these series by Phillip Toledano and Robbie Cooper (also here), but there are examples of photographers leaving their cameras for the PC to record for example this Skyrim timelapse (was this inspired by a similar video on Eurogamer? or viceversa?) oe using videogame equipment in their photography.

Videogame references is photography are of course countless, like this fashion editorial in Neon Magazine.

Lastly even gamers are becoming photographers, not only in games that specifically feature this profession in their characters (Fatal Frame series and Beyond Good and Evil come to mind but I'm sure there are more), but by twisting game rules.
Virtual war photographers enter multiplayer shooter games with the intent not to kill but to report (and not die), like Brunet Thibault (who also enjoys other forms of videogame photography). There are staring to be quite a few examples of this, which is probably going to piss the other players though, it would be great if modern FPS started to support this option (spectator modes are sort-of there, but you can't die and thus don't really "simulate" the role, there is at least one game that is all about war photography, but it doesn't seem on the contrary to allow other roles, so it's still not quite the same).

A notable game which supports photography (and fashion!) without being centered on photographer is Second Life. These guys go so crazy that they actually photoshop their work! Eve Online is another game worth mentioning, not only its avatar creator is amazing, but taking your avatar picture puts you in a (simple) virtual photography studio and the results are fairly decent.

If only Red Dead Redemption or Alan Wake could get more love... Unfortunately being console only titles (I still hope for an Alan Wake on the PC), they lend themselves less to photography, but at least for the former there are a couple of amazing videos out there, including a short film made by John Hillcoat...

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