Article: On Photography in Videogames

For Overweg, capturing glitches in worlds that attempt to be picture-perfect facsimiles of reality is a way to expose the fact that, after all, games are inevitably engraved by their makers: “Games are still created by humans. When they forget something due to a human error glitches can appear, thus glitches are the most human aspect of gaming. Also I love it when something gets damaged but becomes more beautiful.” Traversing a “realistically” stylized game like Left 4 Dead in an active player context often means seeing glitches and bugs as amusing or annoying mistakes rather than indicators of humanity. Pulling glitches out of that context and portraying them as frozen moments in time allows us to reflect, to see them in a new light. Overweg remarks that games, like many other art forms, demonstrate the limits of our imaginations because our tendency is to reproduce “what we already know.” He even notes that although he can take a photo in-game from any perspective he likes, the ones that are the most resonant and popular are the ones taken from angles that people find most familiar. It’s makes the thing—no matter how unnatural it is—feel more present, attainable, real. Still, Overweg believes in looking beyond the game as it is meant to be played and seen. “My first series of photographs where I make the exact same photos as in the physical world, it took me a while to see this and break free from it. Sherry Levine once said, ‘Any photographer who goes out to photograph goes out with preconceptions of what can be found.’”