Film Photography and Video Games

I love video games. I don’t write about them here obviously but I’d say I love playing as much as taking pictures. Usually they compete for those bits of free time I get, and there’s no way I could do both at the same time. Unless I start taking photos in games, which is a thing of beauty on its own if you know how to do it properly, and I don’t. Moreover, my photography is mostly film and one would argue there’s no way you can both shoot film and play games.

Well, that someone hasn’t seen the Continuos City project by Gareth Damian Martin. I stumbled on an article about it at Kotaku UK and was blown away.

Just look at these photos:

By Gareth Damian Martin. All rights reserved.
By Gareth Damian Martin. All rights reserved.
By Gareth Damian Martin. All rights reserved.


What are they, you might ask? They, in fact, are film photos of video game worlds. Not screenshots, not free cam digital pictures with tons of fake film post-processing. These are genuine film photos. Sic!

I could never come up with such an idea and even if I did I wouldn’t know how to do it. The “how” of the project was probably more interesting to me than the “what”, though the pictures themselves are splendid.

As Gareth says in the article:

I use a DLP projector connected up to a console or PC and a projection screen, <…> I then photograph the game as it’s projected on the screen using two different 35mm cameras and a very high ISO black and white film stock.

Pretty neat and smart. In the piece he goes on to explain that shooting the projected image gave him this true to life look, otherwise, if he had shot a screen, the picture would seem more digital. I gotta say first I saw those photos I was sure they are of real places.

Right now Gareth crowdfunds the publication of this project as a book, and I will buy my own copy as soon as I get some spare cash.

Film photography doesn’t stop surprising me, it’s truly the gift that keeps on giving. It finds its way into things you wouldn’t think of putting next to it and yet here we have a street film photography project in virtual cities. I take my hat off to Gareth and every creative person who keep pushing the boundaries of film photography proving it’s still relevant in the 21st century.

Thank you!


4 thoughts on “Film Photography and Video Games

  1. It would be a fun technical challenge to figure out how to do this! It is genius that he chose to project, rather than use a screen.


    1. Exactly! The tech side is the most exciting for me. I also wonder if he used any tools for the games to enhance the graphics because boy those pics look real.


      1. That’s for sure! I just know that those who do artistic in-game screenshots use different cinematic tools and enchancers. I don’t belittle the genius execution of this project, just curious;-)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s