Crossroad of Realities: Photography Subverts Gaming Scenes

game photograph distant shot

As improved game graphics generate increasingly photo-realistic spaces, projects like this blur the boundaries between virtual and real in perception-warping ways. Test and see for yourself: how long do you have to stare at each picture to ascertain what elements comes from within the game and which ones are derived from everyday reality?

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Referencing Jean Baudrillard (of Simulacra and Simulation), gamer and photographer Benoit Paillé of Montreal, Quebec explains his aim to “overlay a material reality with a virtual one, erasing the border between the two worlds … to show that we can use a virtual space in conceptual photography and approach these areas with the same sensitivity as the physical space.”

game photo gta v

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The process of making Crossroads of Realities involved carefully capturing in-game scenes from Grand Theft Auto V, then simulating the same conditions (time of day, angle of light, conditions of weather) in a real photograph of a human hand holding an image-capturing device. These images were then hybridized into finished shots representing uncanny combinations of virtual and physical reality.

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As to his inspiration: “It is a response to the proliferation of visual projects that take place in virtual spaces. It is a questioning about the notion of border and territory. A mix of two distinct realities into a single image. I ask questions about the legitimacy and the authorship of artwork created this way.”