Ubisoft presents exhibit highlighting video game photography


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Melani Bonilla, Multimedia Editor

On Nov. 16, Ubisoft presented an exhibit at Ideal Glass Studios in New York City. The exhibit highlighted the work of photographers inspired by the graphic abilities and aesthetics of in-game visuals. It also presented creativity and art that was only made possible through technology.

To enter the exhibit, there was an extensive guest list of participants and security at the front door. After making it inside, participants were ushered to a coat check and offered beverages.

The exhibit started off with a curatorial statement by Mohamed Megdoul that read, “Photomode is a tool found in many games that provides players the ability to capture images from the virtual worlds they explore.”

After reading the statement, guests traveled to their first exhibit where they were privy to works by Will Saunders, Kent Sheely, Melanie Courtinat and Pascal Greco among other artists.

Among these works were images from video games like Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyssey.

Exhibit pieces had characters in the middle of battlefields with sand surrounding their gun shots, characters swimming in lakes and a sequence of different characters in the same composition. Many of the pieces played with lighting, composition and the graphics of video game visuals.

Saunders presented “UNCANNY” where he explored realism, absurdity and humor. The images were “alternating between moments in which non-player characters are suspended in conflict, and the terrible and strange scenes of war at the heart…” as explained in his photo description.

Other artists such as Courtinat were at the event to help guide guests through her participating works and explain her inspiration behind them.

After guests had made their way through the pieces, they sat and waited for the panel to begin. The panel was moderated by Youssef Maguid who was part of Ubisoft News. Panelists included VP Editorial of Ubisoft Fawzi Mesmar, Founder and Director of Immersion magazine Mohamed Megdoul, Immersive Artist Mélanie Courtinat and New York University Professor Winnie Song.

The panelists introduced themselves then Maguid proceeded to ask them questions on their views related to in-game photography.

Maguid presented a question to Song by saying, “If you’ve been in this industry long enough you know that the best thing people can say about your game is that it’s immersive. I was immersed in Ancient Egypt; I was immersed in 9th century England…”

Maguid questioned Songs’ claim of the decaying fantasy of immersion and the role photomode plays in it.

Song described it as, “There’s a desire within video game consumers…the fantasy they’re after is the catharsis of existing within a space or system that operates seamlessly, and games are good at modifying that impulse in players.”

Song continued to describe photomode and what it meant to players, creators and even developers.

Maguid continued the panel by asking the other panelists about their careers, views on in-game photography and questions about where they see it going in the future.

The exhibit “Photomode: Out There in Games” concluded and left guests with a new perception of the button on their consoles and what it could create.