The New Photographers, Part 1: Virtual Tourists

After the digital revolution finally hit its stride in the late 2000s there hasn’t been much technological advancement in the world of photography hardware. Since then the argument on whether or not these newfangled machines could match the “je ne sais quoi” of film has all but come to a halt except for the most stubborn of purists. Sure we’re getting better facial recognition and more AF points, but even the megapixel war has started to die down.


Which I am happy about since I can’t afford all these hard drives.

HDR was a big deal around 2010 since it gave a new look that people hadn’t seen before. People loved the fact that this was a purely digital revelation, as the tone compressing of images wouldn’t be able to be achieved through film. Unfortunately, it got abused pretty quick.



The silver lining of the technology leveling out is that it allows the good photographers to rise to the top. You don’t have to have a $30000 60MP medium format camera to shoot fashion anymore, and you can’t rely on having the best gear to get you work. Since everyone(ish) has access to the same gear and editing programs, the ability to create stunning photographs comes down to technical expertise and talent.

There are a few groups of people who have taken this a step further, and these are the people I will be covering in my multi part series “The New Photographers”. Why multi part, you ask? Well, it’s so I don’t have to keep coming up with new ideas. I like my $20 bills and don’t want to forfeit them every time I miss a deadline.



I am single handedly funding these pizza parties.


So on to the meat and potatoes of why we’re here, virtual tourists. This new breed of photographer doesn’t even have a camera; in fact they may not even have Photoshop.

All the work they do is composed entirely in video games. Some are well timed screenshots. Some are created in a camera mode many racing games and other sports games have implemented in recent years. Some are modded PC games running at the highest setting with the HUD and other distracting elements taken out. These artistic snapshots captured in the virtual worlds of video and computer games make sense as games are spaces of experience as much as entertainment. The cool thing is that you can get camera angles and fields of view that aren’t possible in real life. These are not simply snapshots either. A lot of these are beautifully crafted using age-old rules of composition. From vibrant landscapes to abstract closeups, these in-game photos are truly works of art.



For the most part anyways.

So, without further ado, here are a few shots as well as links if you want to explore further.

Virtual Reality Photography  |  Dead End Thrills  |  Virtual Geographic


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