“Over the last two decades a new photographical practice evolved in the realm of the digital: In-game photography. Open world computer games are increasingly shipped with an implemented photo mode, users post game snapshots to their social media timelines as a matter of course, and artists present their in-game photo works in museums and galleries. “Capturing the (Game) World” is a series of events which invites students, scholars, artists, photographers, hobbyists as well as professionals, gamers as well as non-gamers, theorists as well as practitioners to explore the quickly developing new photography practice called in-game photography. The series offers insightful talks – about the practice, aesthetics, and the history of in-game photography – as well as hands-on workshops to explore photography in games and in-game photographical techniques.”
Fortnite launched an in-game photography campaign coinciding with their collaboration with fashion brand Balenciaga, which created physical and digital apparel in limited edition.
The in-game photos appeared on the game billboards, rather than being circulated only on social media platforms and blogs. The campaign is titled Fortography and submissions are made using #Fortography hashtag on Twitter.
Unlike photo modes – which create a space isolated from gameplay to take in-game pictures and share them outside of the game on social media – in fortography the game becomes the content (the subject of the photographic act), the camera (with capture and replay capabilities) as well as the circulation space of the images (the in-game billboards).
Essays by Brit Salvesen and Mirjam Kooiman All the images in this work are taken in Grand Theft Auto V —a video game set in Los Santos, an “open world” scenario that closely resembles Los Angeles and its surroundings. Turned into a virtual replica, the city looks familiar and recognizable, but at the same time, pieces are missing, distances are altered, dimensions changed.
While exploring the possibilities and the meanings of photographing a virtual place, the work addresses further issues, such as the truthfulness of photography and our belief in this medium as a trace of reality. Cropped and turned to black and white by the author, all the images are originally taken by different players around the world. When it comes to showing how realistic this video game is, how much it “seems real”, it’s striking how all these users unknowingly adopt a visual language as descriptive and objective as possible, somehow close to the documentary style.
Thus, their pictures end up resembling those of many great photographers who worked in L.A. widely throughout the second half of the past century. With their own perspective, these artists all contributed to the creation of an image of the city that is still vivid and lasting.