“I choose to explore these games against the natural will of my avatars… I choose to do it as a photographer. These pictures were taken over the course of my walks in these virtual universes.” Thibault Brunet
I first came across the work of French photographer, Thibault Brunet, last year and was immediately struck. Since I do not play video games, his portraits and landscapes from virtual worlds were the first time I had encountered the possibilities of what it means to be “in” a game, and yet not participating as anything more than a photographer.
Brunet follows these soldiers on combat missions, understands their behaviors, and like a traditional photojournalist, documents their world, while blurring the lines between fiction and reality. His work, importantly, raises lots of questions. What is a photograph? What is a portrait? How is virtual reality shaping our behavior and sense of “reality”?
Brunet’s photographs have gained considerable international attention, including coverage in Time LightBox and as a runner-up in Aperture’s portfolio prize. His first solo show is ending this Saturday at 4RT Contemporary in Brussels. It’s worth taking a look at his site to see how this young artist is changing our ideas about what a photograph can be. —Lane Nevares