Some thoughts on Second Life and Video Game Photography

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 pass

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?


2 thoughts on “Some thoughts on Second Life and Video Game Photography

  1. Skye

    I can't think of much to add to this…you've done a great job breaking it down. But I had to laugh a little when I read in the article about how "new" this sort of thing is, when I've been doing it almost five years now.I've not done any kind of photography in other games…I just don't play them…but one of the things I love about SL is how much you can really create within the game to enhance your pictures. Whether it's building something, or buying the perfect finishing touch, or finding just the right environment for your picture.Second Life is so vast in those areas, and it's one of the reasons I stick around. :o)

  2. Carrie Lexington

    Thank you Skye!I don't play video games either, so I don't know what it's like to create images in that environment. From the articles, I get the impression that it is quite challenging in some of those game environments because they are not made for picture taking. That's what I love about Second Life – it seems tailor made for this kind of photography. Depending on which viewer you use, there are some very handy features to create amazing shots.Thanks for your comment. 🙂


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