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Friday, August 10, 2012


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Vax Sirnah

Since photography comes from the Greek for
"light" and "write", I suggest onierography ("dream"+"write"). You could also go with things like 'virtuography', 'simulography' or some such...

Of course, I just like making up words, so that may just be me ;)

shockwave yareach

If you are grabbing an image off the computer screen, it is a screen capture, whether or not the data on display is a 3D rendering, a photograph in MSPaint, winamp visualization or text from a Muck. What is on the screen is irrelevant -- you are capturing what is displayed on your screen, so it is a screen capture.

A photograph on the other hand is a visual recording of a real world thing, be it recorded on film or via an imaging chip. Taking a picture iwth a camera/iphone/whatever of your screen is a photograph of your screen, not a screen capture.

The line between them is a device which captures real world visual imagery. Photographs have them -- screen captures do not.

Adeon Writer

I have hundreds of images I've taken with my iPhone camera. Some of them are photographs. The rest are just pictures.

That snapshot button works the same way.

foneco zuzu

Wise Words Adeon:)

Gary J. Bivin

Why not drop the usually-needless distinction and just use the term "image" for everything?

shockwave yareach

Let's make it more interesting, shall we? A modern movie where people are filmed in front of a green screen, but artificial scenery and virtual actors are added in post production.

It was photographed as the actors were photographed. But the final output is an overlay of photograph and virtual imagery. Now what is it? :)

Melissa Yeuxdoux

I'm wondering when the complaints will start about referring to one's avatar as "walking"; after all, you're just pressing an arrow key, and not actually moving your legs, keeping balance, or expending sufficient energy to move a body (human, two-ton dragon, or whatever). If there are complaints from RL dressmakers about what SL fashion houses call what they do, from RL sculptors about SL builders who create (virtual) sculpture, or from the Teutels about people who create (virtual) motorcycles, I've not seen them. Should we slap "virtual" in front of every noun and verb relating to SL? If not, on what basis should the dividing line be drawn?

SL you-know-whats pay attention to most of the things RL photographers do; if the SL snapshot facility gave one all the knobs to twist that RL cameras have, they'd pay attention to all of them. I don't think referring to those who create images such as appear in this post as "photographers" belittles or denigrates RL photographers in any way.

Tracy Redangel

Anyone can take a screenshot. I've seen too many screenshots taken on low graphic settings of outdated avatars wearing bad freebie clothes, bling shoes and spaghetti hair riding around on penis bikes. Those are screenshots.

It's something else entirely when someone carefully lights a scene, contructs the composition, poses a model, then applies nuanced graphical effects to create a visually striking image.
So call it Virtual photography, virtuography, or even SLotography, but when SL-ographers create some of the spectacular images they do, it's not merely a screenshot.

Noke Yuitza


Other tag to use: "cyberspace photography"

Elsbeth Writer

Strange...I've been calling myself a photographer in SL for 5 years and no one has ever questioned my choice of language. Other people have been buying my photographs, taking my classes in how to use the built in camera, and participating in my photographer groups all this time and never said a word about me not being serious! Why now is there a problem?

Keystone Bouchard

I hear exactly the same resistance to calling virtual buildings 'architecture.'

Even if I have to lean toward the more widely accepted 'Information Architecture' use of the term, it is architecture nonetheless.

Brigitte Kungler

Why not call it digital art, as that is what it truly is.

theblackcloud Oh

That is the fence taken from my sim, Black Kite. It's been showing up everywhere lately.

As for the topic here, I have to agree with what is said. Anyone can take a snapshot. Just like anyone can take a photo in real life. What makes it art is all the little elements that pull a piece together.

I've been taking snapshots in SL since I first learned how and more or less looked at it as an extension of my real life hobbies of photography. So I don't see why anyone should get hung up words... but I guess that is what we do sometimes.

Connie Arida


Melissa Yeuxdoux

@Elsbeth: I don't know whether it's the first time the controversy came up, but the first time I heard of it was back on flickr, where some years ago Second Life, um, images were considered screen captures and were tagged so that they wouldn't come up in searches.

roblem hogarth

A photograph or photo is an image created by light falling on a light-sensitive surface. So in SL sure its a photograph as much as anything is anything in a virtual world. Outside of SL it's a virtual photograph, artistic or not.

Chance Deluca

It's amusing to me that so many creative minds would get hung up on a situation such as this. When they have already established that what we have here is something situation-ally new and thus should be given its own Name. But "Virtual photography" couldn't be more boring a Name for a medium with such a wide open range of expression. I myself have been calling Fauxtography. If you cant make the connections as to why is a much more fitting Name then perhaps Art isn't you bag.

MarillaAnne Slade

I just spent two days photographing the sim of a friend before he took it down. I've plans to spend two more days photographing my own sim before I close it on Friday -- that will be a total of 4 days on my own sim. Why so much time photographing it? Em because I am photographing it.

Studio shots take time and planning. Are the right props in place? Is the lighting properly enhancing all the surfaces? Is the shading correct? Is anything outside the subject matter casting extra shadows? Do I have the proper people in the proper garb? Only a very few of the things considered.

Setting up an outdoor shoot is even more complicated. All of the above plus things like... Where will the sun be? How can I best use the natural elements to my advantage. How do I compensate for things I can't control? Like people stopping to watch. People suddenly showing up in front of the camera - uninvited. Again, a very few of the things considered.

Then art studies show up. Do I have the perspective correct? Is there really a foreground, midpoint, and background? What's actually in the natural center? Do the lines move attention towards the subject or away? Do I set it up as an iconic single subject shot or should I set up the shot in such away that a portion of the subject is not visible and thus hold the attention a little longer by requiring the imagination and the brain to complete the image? Am I expressing balance or tension by how I divide the photograph via the horizon, trees, or even the floor or a table? Is there something in place that expresses a moment of movement and energy or is everything suppose to be appearing rock solid stable by being neatly arranged and upright? Yeah ... There's more ...

And then comes the camera settings ... and am I introducing distortion just from the angle of my camera and .... And ....

O M G don't tell me that the photography I do in SL, InWorldz, or a private grid isn't photography. Photography is a mindset and a skill set and a set of tools coming together to create art.

Then ... After the process of photography, in post processing, comes digital art. Digital art is yet another mindset, toolset, and skill set. Nevermind that there are some who don't need a base photo or image for their breathtaking productions of digital art ...

shockwave yareach

@Chance - I like that moniker. Suits the situation well.

cube republic

They're technically called renders.

Arahan Claveau

I really like Chance's description of screenshots as "Fauxtography"!

Screenshots/renders can absolutely be creatively captured, but you need an eye for composition to be able to do anything worthwhile. Dressing them up with post-processing filters and effects can enhance the original, but for me the most interesting examples usually convey some sort of narrative, and it's very rare to see that, particularly in Second Life, which is dominated by glamour shots.

Personally, I did try to do something a bit different with my SL screenshots, using actors and custom built sets whenever possible, but I never considered them as photography.

I made a storybook in 2007 that Hamlet blogged about here, and there's still a collection of some of my other screenshots on Flickr.

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