|The Monastery in Cerridwen’s Cauldron by Elicio Ember, in Second Life|
The other day I read an article in the Huffington Post called The Art of In-Game Photography. The article originally appeared on Video Game Tourism and was also mentioned here. Naturally, I was quite interested in it as photography in SL is what keeps me busy in-world a lot of the time.
It’s cool to see this getting some exposure, and in viewing the photos from various sources, it is clear that some careful time, effort and a keen eye has gone into creating the images. The article also seems to be generating some talk in some of the comments about whether or not this can or should be called Photography.
For myself, I can say that I learned a lot about the composition aspects of photography, all stuff I picked up from certain websites and sometimes browsing the photography aisle in my local bookstore. I wouldn’t know how to operate a real camera to save my life, but I think I do know a little something about elements of composing an interesting photo. I wouldn’t know any of that if it wasn’t for how I have spent my time in Second Life these last couple of years.
It’s great to see amazing photos from other virtual worlds and video games and I think the whole area of video game and virtual world photography is mostly not recognized. I think it’s also safe to say that when this new form of photography (or whatever you want to call it) does get some attention, it is largely ignored and dismissed by the masses as some kind of cute little hobby or pastime with no artistic or creative value at all. I do realize that real world photography is very complex and takes great skill and years to master, but then, so does learning how to navigate the SL viewer, haha.
Personally, I find myself feeling rather indifferent about the discussion and questions being brought up by this topic.
The question of “should this be called Photography or not?” is not that different from the discussions about what is Art, who is and isn’t an Artist, or a Creative. It’s a discussion that frankly, I am tired of and is starting to feel oh so passé.
The way I see things, it’s really just about labels. It’s about labels that make it simple to put people, places and things into easily digestible categories. Sometimes these labels may be helpful, but other times they may cause you to miss some wonderful and beautiful creations that do not fit into those neat and tidy little packages. And that, I think, is a real shame.
What do you think?