Only a century ago, people were still debating whether photography was art. Today, photography is a widely accepted art form, but a new form of media art is now being debated. In-game photography, which is also known as screenshot photography and screenshot art, consists of taking screenshot photos of video games.
The validity of in-game photography has been questioned because artists are basically taking photos of a game designer’s digital artwork. However, surely the art and photography worlds have evolved to the point where we understand not everything is art, but anything can be art. At the end of the day, if an artist produces a work of art in any medium and calls it art, then art it is. That approach can also be somewhat problematic, though, as it could imply that there is no artistic merit behind the creation of a work. In-game photographers spend just as much time and thought creating their works as other artists, though. So, it is about time we all appreciated the art of in-gaming photography more.
Photo by: Abdul Barie
Understand the Process to Further Appreciate the Artworks
In-game photography has been displayed in brick-and-mortar art galleries around the world, so it is hard to deny that the medium is an art form. And when you get a better understanding of the process involved, you will see how game photographers have the exact same motivations as other artists. Whether artists are capturing images from first-person shooters, MMORPGs, or games you can play at an online casino, they strive to capture visually interesting images and demonstrate technical expertise. While the act of taking a photograph is as simple as pressing the screenshot button to capture the image on the screen, a lot of work goes into setting up the shot.
As with any other artistic photographic process, the artist spends time composing the picture and getting the mood right. For example, if you were taking a photo of a racing video game, you would consider what type of shot you want to take. You could opt for a wide scenic shot or an image with motion blur to capture the sensation of speed. You would also have to choose things like the car and race track that are best suited for the artwork you have in mind and choose the precise moment of gameplay to take your photograph. You would need to consider other things too, like the tilt of the camera and the lighting.
Photo by: Axville
Notable In-game Photography Artists
The best way to appreciate the art of in-game photography is, of course, to view artists’ works. There are several notable photographers who exhibit their in-game photographs. New York city-based artists Eva and Franco Mattes created one of the first known in-game photographs. Thirteen Most Beautiful Avatars was exhibited virtually in 2006. The exhibit featured photographs of avatars from the virtual world of Second Life.
Another prominent artist in the in-game photography world is the Englishman Duncan Harris, who founded Dead End Thrills in 2008. His technique for creating screenshot art involves tweaking and modding video games so that they become as photogenic as possible.
The Brazilian Leonardo Sang is another well-known in-game photographer. He is most famous for his Backseats in Games collection, which comprises black and white photographs from the games Project CARS and Warcraft III. Sang’s technique includes using FRAPS and post-processing methods, such as adding grain to the final photographs to give them a slight 35mm-film appearance. Sang has had his in-game artworks exhibited in Rio Grande do Sol and San Paulo in Brazil.
When you check out works by the above artists, you are sure to start appreciating the art of in-game photography. You might even decide to give it a go yourself.