A few weeks ago, LA-based artist, writer and VGT-reader Eron Rauch contacted me to discuss some of the finer points of In-Game Photography. This conversation led me to ask him to collect his thoughts in an essay about the relation of In-Game Photography and traditional photography and art. Here it is.
If you are anything like me, you had friends who linked Rainer's "The Art of in-game Photography." If you are anything like me, you saw many of your friends duke it out on Facebook and Twitter over whether or not this was a legitimate art — whether it was even photography.
The arguments, if I may dramatize them like a cheap real-crime TV program, went something like this: It's photography. No, it's not photography. Yes it is. No it isn't. Uh-huh. Nuh-uh. Your mother's not photography. Well your mother was photography last night.
Then: You own the image. No you don't own the image. Yes it is. No it isn't. Uh-huh. Nuh-uh. I own your mother. Well I owned your mother last night.
I have spent too much time drinking coffee and waiting in lobbies in League of Legends (to inevitably have the 5th PUG pick Feeder-Yi). I spent this time mulling over why this video-game-photography-thinger gets people so worked up. Here are two thoughts:
1) Both sides of these arguments seem to have good points.
2) What sides? The history of photography is way too weird for binaries.
The more I turned these two ideas around the more it occurred to me that they were related. Additionally, the more I pondered the original article on In-Game Photography (IGP) and the very polarized reactions it elicited, the more I grew adamant that these strong reactions mean that this subject is a very important notion to ponder and hence make art about.