In Game Photography (IGP)

What is it? Just in case you don’t know, David Guilmore who writes for Motherboard ( provides a brief description of in game photography, or IGP for short:

It is when a player documents a moment or scene from inside a virtual space. Players take a snapshot and upload it to a dedicated blog…Some are motivated purely by the beauty of the game, paying homage to the talent of the developers and designers. Other enthusiasts often explore specific or artistic themes, their work being slightly more reflective.


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Duncan Harris is a well known screen-shotter of games and has a lot of his work uploaded onto his blog here if you would like to take a look at his images:

Now that you know what IGP is (if you did already, I hope you just liked looking at the images).  I would like to reflect upon it in relation to my research project, which if you aren’t familiar with can read about here.

I have always played games and have always taken photographs, but have not necessarily connected the two together. Photography has been an in-game feature or topic in some games I have played such as in the Fatal Frame Series (2002-2008) where you fight evil spirits with your camera instead of a gun:


Or Life is Strange (2015) where you are play as a Photography student who can manipulate time. This game encourages you to take pictures as you play, characters react to your images and you use characters own photographs to unravel the narrative of the game.


A lot of new games let you take photographs such as the Metal Gear Solid The Phantom Pain via memento photos and and Final Fantasty 15 encourages you to take pictures as the characters on their road trip.

It is not a new concept to utilise photography in games, however IGP is slightly different as it is taking photographs to capture the game world through that still image, which is like we do in the real world. What is the difference between climbing around in the real world to get the right angle for a shot, or to explore an open world looking for an interesting environment to capture on screen? As you can from the example in the gallery, there is definitely consideration of composition, lighting, setting a scene etc. to formulate the best image possible.

I have been reading through these short essays on the subject of IGP by Eron Rauch:

I think that his comments about photography not being an accepted in its own right most certainly applies to these new emerging types of photography via IGP and 360/VR processes. They seem to be a be deemed as gimmicky, or people don’t think they are ‘proper’ photography, or it is just seen a fun thing for social media. I have to admit I have struggled to find any academic material that is linked to this area!

As gaming continues to be the biggest and fastest developing creative industry in the UK why can’t photographic appreciation of games be considered art and transfer from in-game to galleries, or even just be taken seriously as examples of social interaction online rather than just fan art? It would be great to see game artists and developers work being shared online and in the real world as serious forms of not just IGP but just photography.



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