art in july

art in july

There is so much going on in the Second Life art world right now, it’s hard to keep up. Besides the installation The Swamp (image of Bloody Hands – The Church avatar above, free at landing), by Meilo Minotaur and CapCat Ragu, the photograph exhibit Loss, by Senna Coronet, and the permanent Gallery M show The Other, by Mich Michabo, at my own gallery Berg by Nordan Art, there are some excellent art shows all over the grid.

There are two new shows at UTSA ArtSpace, curated by constructivIST Solo and Igor Ballyhoo; a collection of photographs by ◦⊱ Mi ⊰◦ and an installation by Romy Nayar. The new nineteen large mostly color, and a few black and white, photographs on display here by ◦⊱ Mi ⊰◦ are taken at The DNA Tower (Igor Ballyhoo), The Sacrificed Angel (Igor Ballyhoo), The Joy Formidable (Livio Korobase), Penumbra (CapCat Ragu and Meilo Minotaur) and Empty Minds (Romy Nayar). They fit so well in the beautiful gallery build created by Igor. To me, each of ◦⊱ Mi ⊰◦’s images has a dream-like quality, which draws me in and consistently holds my attention. There is a painterly quality to her work, which I think at this point has become a major aspect of her style. Bravo, ◦⊱ Mi ⊰◦, such a strong collection. I never tire of looking at your photographs.

The installation Lamento by Romy Nayar consists of three parts. There is a small build in the gallery itself and two other parts accessible via teleport. Each little build consists of various figures, mostly women I think, that are part of a scene, displaying some form of metaphor. It’s hard to immediately grasp the meaning of these scenes, which all seem quite subjective, all in one way or another perhaps dealing with sadness or grief. To me, Romy’s work is becoming more and more surreal, which I like. There was always something magical about her installations and that has not changed.

There is a new exhibit, Creatures of Light, by Harbor Galaxy, curated by Ux Hax and Romy Nayar, at MetaLES. There are twenty large color images on display by Harbor in the intriguing MetaLES space. The space consists of a floor and walls enveloped in a solid, black velvet-like texture and a ceiling adorned with black and white geometric 3D shapes; dispersed in rows throughout are tall, white street-light-shaped poles. Ux and Romy, the talented curators of this place, continue recognizing that the environment housing the art plays an integral part of the overall display and presentation. Love it. It’s very modern and very much immersive virtual art. It struck me, when first viewing Harbor’s images from a distance, that they remind me of something the abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock could have created. Looking closer, however, there is much more to it than that; the subject, lines, light and colors merge invisibly somehow. This is a change for Harbor from her previous style. She notes that [f]or those of you who are familiar with my work through Flickr or shows here inworld…CREATURES OF LIGHT may be something of a departure from my usual style. My objective was to use an avatar devoid of ornamentation and to only utilize poses, light and color to create these pieces and to give myself permission to play and to step outside my comfort zone. So great, Harbor; I am in awe of your utterly new and courageous  approach to virtual images.

There is a new exhibit, Absences, by Melusina Parkin, curated by Dido Haas, at Nitroglobus. Most of us know the images by Melusina from Flickr, where she regularly posts series of five or six photographs that display various themes. Her work is minimalist and I believe barely processed with any kind of photo-tools outside of Second Life. There is something incredibly captivating about viewing her series as each image provides a hint of an idea, but it is really the whole, all images in the series together, that leaves one with a lasting impression. The twelve large color images on display in the Nitroglobus address lack, specifically as it pertains to Second Life. Melusina notes about her exhibit that [a]bsence is a negative concept: it means that something should be there and it doesn’t. So, when we look at an empty place – a room, a seashore, a road or even a chair – we can’t avoid thinking of something or somebody who has been or will be there. That’s even more true when a world, including nature and landscape, is entirely made by humans, like Second Life does…[o]n the other hand, looking at empty spaces is stimulating: when humans aren’t there they can be everything. I love imagining what has happened in a place when people has gone. Or what will happen when it will be populated by people. Spaces and objects shape our behavior: they are the limits or the starts of our actions and of our imagination. This is a wonderful exhibit that should not be missed. Melusina’s photographs fit so beautifully in the Nitroglobus gallery, both compliment each other. Head over and take a look.

Let me end with a few comments about other noteworthy art events. The talented Imani Nayar has a new show, My Furillen, curated by Serene Footman, at Furillen. The exhibit Her and Him, by Hillany Scofield, at dathuil, has been extended over the summer months. There is a new multi-artist show, Beautiful Bizarre, at DaphneArts Gallery. DiXmiX Gallery had an opening of a retrospective group show, Best of 2016-2017, yesterday. There are regular rotating exhibits and weekend-themed events at the gallery Blue Orange, the most recent one, Vintage Circus Freak Show. Last, but not least, the Itakos Gallery has been awarded a LEA grant and the gallery relocated to a new sim, the LEA16 Itakos Project. The opening of the new location will take place tomorrow, Sunday, July 16, at 2PM SLT, make sure not to miss it.

As always when it comes to these monthly art reports, I feel I need to point out that there just is not enough time in the day to cover every exhibit. So there are great Second Life art shows out there that I didn’t cover, my apologies. Let me mention here also that I have rarely experienced as vibrant an art world as we see it right now in our metaverse. More than ever before, we see sim-sized installations and photograph exhibits of incredible quality, all pulled together in collaboration by visionary artists and compassionate curators. We are not getting any kind of monetary reward for doing this, we are all driven simply by the pleasure of creating and sharing art. Bravo, thank you to all and keep it coming!

Photographs by Kate Bergdorf
Exhibit posters by respective galleries and artists

Senna Coronet at Berg by Nordan Art

Opening this Sunday, July 9, at 11 AM SLT, at Berg by Nordan Art, is the exhibit Loss, by Senna Coronet (in Second Life, Sennaspirit Coronet). I am pleased that Senna and I also found time for an interview, which is now published in my other blog, The Virtual Review. Senna has been active in SL since 2006. An avid, and one of our most outstanding, virtual world photographer, he notes that I once thought this image making thing in SL was a bit embarrassing, however, after 2 extended “holidays” away from SL I realized that I loved this part of my life and returned in both instances because I missed making images in SL. That’s the absolute truth. I missed my friends for sure, but the image making part was at the root of my return. I studied art in college and was always interested in the arts even from a young age. So, now that I’m not so young, I’m impressed that I’ve been consistently drawn to creative type endeavors and quite happy that Second Life provides a unique forum to get quench my creative thirst and do so with some really fantastic friends and creative types. No doubt, most of us creatives can relate to these words of wisdom about the virtual world and photography. I know I can.

Senna’s exhibit Loss is a deeply personal one, consisting of fourteen new images and dedicated to his friend and photographer Amona Savira, who sadly passed away earlier this year. Amona had agreed to show at Berg by Nordan Art for the period July through September 2017 and Senna graciously agreed to exhibit in her stead. About Loss Senna states that [t]his show is dedicated to my good friend Amona Savira, who left us earlier this year quite unexpectedly. Her passing was an absolute shock to me but sadly it was just one of a few losses I suffered this year. When Kate asked me to fill in this show slot that had been intended for Amona, I was happy to try and do it justice, even though other pressures didn’t seem to want me to complete it. I think what I experienced this year with all the events in my life, is that regardless of how tragic and harsh things can be, you cannot let things consume you and paralyze you. Suffering, remorse, sadness are all healthy emotions but they must not take over your life. Come join us in the gallery for the opening on Sunday. I will send out group announcements with information as we get closer to the date.

Exhibit poster by Senna Coronet

North

draw me a sheep...

I am putting together a new sim called North. It all started as an inspiration based on an ever-stronger desire to live away from the big city and move to rugged nature somewhere in the remote north. I created two other places a few years ago, one was Winter and the other Leka, both of which, looking back, I think I put together too quickly. So I knew I wanted to take my time with North and I have.

Inspired by the Shetland Islands in Scotland, where Scotland meets Scandinavia and the North Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean, I envision North as raw, serene and still. While I want it to be as true to the original islands as possible, I am not set on having it be a perfect replica. Open space, remote buildings, nature, and ocean are themes, not part of a perfectly constructed reproduction.

I learned going through this virtual sim creating process that there are both practical and emotional aspects involved. The tangible characteristics require some virtual world technical expertise, like, for instance, terraforming. The emotional aspects of sim building have to do with introspection and personality.

Those of you who put together sims already know what the practical initial tasks at hand are; terraforming, ground textures, layout. Then the adding of objects; rocks and stones, grass and flowers, buildings and objects, animals and animate objects. It is important to me that the sim is unique and different and this, truthfully, becomes the greatest challenge of all. I keep reminding myself that less is usually more. If I can avoid it, I don’t use popular objects that are immediately recognizable. Not always possible, but I try. I am also selective when it comes to the quality of the items I place on the sim. This involves digging deep into my inventory and also a lot of running around looking for things that might fit.

Taking time to create provides the opportunity for things to enfold. Just like when creating a painting, or when editing a virtual photograph for that matter, things look different on different days. There are days when my imagination seems to know no bounds and my creativity flourishes. These are the days when I excitedly add to the sim an incredibly detailed sewing room or a dilapidated urban skateboard park. Then there are other times when I am overwhelmed by the entire process and just want to throw in the towel. On those days I seem to just be aimlessly shuffling things from one place to another.

When putting together a sim and the practical and emotional are thoughtfully integrated, I think the end-result becomes a meaningful and inspiring sim ambience that in one way or another reflects the creators persona. I hope to get this project done soon and I look forward to sharing it with you then.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

virtual photography as communication tool on Flickr

I’ve been thinking some more about virtual photography as a communication tool amongst people who post them on Flickr. A prominent aspect of the photograph in our new visual social media era is “showing-not-telling,” which replaces the outdated “reading-and-learning” predecessor. It’s now about photos, not about text. People show us with their virtual world Flickr photographs glimpses into their virtual lives. The choice of image corresponds with the message a person wants to send. I think on virtual photography Flickr especially we see all kinds of communication involving emotion, which probably has to do with the lack of means that we have in-world when it comes to expressing our feelings. So people in love post images of themselves in love. The slighted rejected lover posts provocative images with the simple purpose of cruel revenge. The sweet friend posts selfies of themselves and a best friend. The virtual world Flickr photos we post may also simply depict topics of interest, again, this I believe is an unconscious effort by the photographer to share an aspect of the self. Like the explorer of the metaverse posts pictures of beautiful destinations. The art fanatic posts images of virtual art. The designer posts incredibly detailed images of household scenes. And so on. The photographs we Second Lifers post on Flickr become an important part of our virtual world identity. When we have been on Flickr for a while we soon recognize which photograph belongs to which photographer. Each photographer has a style, a theme, and a mood. It as if we know them. And somehow mysteriously, without ever having met, we manage to move each other with the images we post.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

art in june

Snapshot_005

There is certainly no lack of art exhibits in Second Life during this first month of summer.  Besides the recently opened The Swamp , by Meilo Minotaur and CapCat Ragu, the photograph exhibit MYdigliani by daze Landar, the permanent works at Gallery M by Mich Michabo, all at Berg by Nordan Art, there are several exhibits, as well as at least one major new sim-sized installation, to explore.

My first stop today is at dathuil where we find the exhibit Her and him, by Hillany Scofield, curated by Lucy Butoh and Max Butoh. This collection of photographs is the second part of a collaboration with moon Edenbaum, who showed his exhibit me_you here last month. I think there are sixteen color images here; some of them are very creatively mounted in the ceiling, I got dizzy counting, but I think I got it right. I really like this exhibit by hill.s. Not only do the images beautifully correspond with the works by moon, but they also convey a completely different kind of intimacy. hill.s notes about her exhibit that [o]n a day like any other she walks into that little café on the corner. She knows it`s never crowded at this time of day. when she grabs a coffee and her favorite lemon pie on her way home. But this day is unlike the other days and this man is unlike any other she had seen around here. And his presence felt different to all the others…. Each picture here truly does offer a peek into what feels like a deeply personal moment that is part of a story. There is also something homely about these photographs that I utterly adore. Head over and take a look before the exhibit closes on June 30.

There are two exhibits, one by Cipher and the other by Peep Sideshow, curated by CrankyGrit, in two small galleries on the newly opened sim The GoodLife.  The little galleries are located right after you enter the sim, nested in decayed builds, one on the left and on one the right hand side of the street. Both spaces are intimate, displaying a handful of really good images by each photographer. Looking forward to more art exhibit on this sim, this is a great start.

Sina Souza is showing a collection of her own most favorite photographs at the Art Gallery The Eye. I’ve seen all these images before, but honestly,  I never really tire of Sina’s work. Her painterly surrealist style always leaves me wanting more. Head over and take a look at these photographs, I am not really sure how long they will be up. Make sure to also check out Sina’s new work Mental Levels currently at MetaLES if you haven’t already.

Last, but certainly not least, there is an incredibly complex and beautiful installation, Flash Forward/Flash Backward, by Giovanna Cerise, curated by Dividni Shostakovich, at Split Screen. This is a multi-layered work, consisting of six connected parts; Dream, Point of View, The Desire, Lightness, The Impossible Choice and The Birth.  All parts are accessible either by walking through the build itself or teleporting from one part to another. Extensive information about the exhibit, including landmarks to each space, is provided at the landing point. Wandering through this maze-like structure made me feel like I was part of a dream. There were times when I took a wrong turn and felt lost, but then found my way again. The surrounding flickering, shifting images and colors further contribute to the experience of being in a dream state. Giovanna notes about her work that it encompasses imagery from the past, present and future: Everything appears and disappears, in a game in and out, in the will to create alienation effects, restlessness, suspended in an allusive and visionary atmosphere. In this wandering, however, intimate glimpses appear as flashes that isolate and force them to stop. They are moments of stasis, breaks that interrupt the anxiety of trying. Objects that are reflected or evanescent figures metaphorically produce in the present vague suggestions. The installation, formed for the most part from simple geometric elements , is thus presented as a destructured form, almost shapeless with the intent to create chaotic and changing moments. Inside there are spaces that vanish in the complex but depending on the angle they are perfectly visible. A fantastic show, great in every detail, bravo Giovanna, really. Head over and take a look before the installation closes on July 31.

There are many other exhibits I did not cover here because there is simply not enough time. Let me just mention here though Itakos Art Gallery and DixMix Gallery, both of which always have regularly rotating photography exhibits by great artists. Also, rumor on the street has it that there is a great new group show coming up at UTSA ArtSpace (I know my friend ◦⊱ Mi ⊰◦ will part-take) so please be on the lookout for announcements.

Photographs by Kate Bergdorf

The GoodLife

The GoodLife is a post-apocalyptic urban setting, complete with decaying houses and destroyed highways.  Abandoned vehicles, graffitied walls, piles of trash and shabby furniture are disbursed in between. Most of the builds are by the talented Death Row Designs team, but there are objects by other creators as well. This is an adult-themed sim where various sex poses can be found throughout. While I don’t visit adult-themed sims to engage in role-play, I generally find that darker places with post-apocalyptic and adult themes have more ambience and depth. They are excellent places to take pictures. The creator and owner of The GoodLife sim, CrankyGrit (aka Rwah, who also created the sim Purple Crayons), notes that [t]his build is based on a long time idea I have been toying with to combine things that are to my knowledge, not often combined. SL sports many luscious adult sims. Exquisitely decorated and well established. This little hole in the wall is not that. Nor is it exclusive, unless you call being a stickler for manners being exclusive. I wanted a sim where I ould enjoy the urban, post-apocalyptic sights with hangouts and adult nooks and crannies. A place where I can just be and perhaps watch or be watched or simply hang out. There are no expectations, other than that those who choose to visit here, are expected to behave and respect that adult RP could be going on. What I hope for this build, is that a wide variety of artistic souls, kinksters, out-of-the-box thinkers will come and visit and hopefully come back to dwell a bit longer. No doubt, Miss CrankyGrit totally succeeded in bringing to fruition her long time idea. I am amazed by this place and will keep coming back. A the landing there are notecards with information about the sim, the dungeon and about exhibit spaces that are also located on the sim. I will write more about the photograph exhibits in my Art in June post coming up in a few days. Head on over and take a look, this is in my humble opinion one of the coolest new places on the grid. Don’t forget to bring your camera, images can be posted in The GoodLife Flickr group.

Photographs by Kate Bergdorf

one family and art

Having an art sim I am fortunate enough to get to know the people who exhibit their work there. Everybody has a story and for a short moment we become part of each others’ stories. Some of the stories linger, or come to an end, others keep evolving. As of late, I find myself becoming a small part of a story so rich and meaningful that I want to share a part of it here. This is the story of a Portuguese family consisting of Meilo Minotaur, CapCat Ragu, Takio Ra and Rita Eustáquio. Meilo, in the middle in photo above, is the mother of CapCat, left in the photo. CapCat and Takio (right in the photo) are married and have a daughter, Rita. Rita does not yet have an avatar, and is not depicted above, but rumor has it that she is thinking about creating one soon. Meilo  and CapCat have been producing art in Second Life since 2008. Most of you probably know them as the creators of the sim Delicatessen. As of this year, they are also permanent resident artists at Berg by Nordan Art. Their first installation, in January 2017, was Penumbra and opening tomorrow, The Swamp. Remarkably, all four contribute to these installations. It is a joint family art project. While CapCat and Meilo create the visible work (terraforming, building, avatars, etc.), Takio is responsible for the sound and Rita does voice. The Swamp is dark and unsettling, a powerful metaphor for fascism inspired by Cap’s and Meilo’s first hand revolution and post-revolution experiences in Portugal; I’ve been told that sound and voice are a particularly important aspect of this work, so when you visit, please make sure to turn it on.

CapCat (Catarina Carneiro de Sousa) successfully defended her thesis Virtual Corporeality and Shared Creativity and received her PhD in April this year. She also published an article, Mom and Me Through the Looking Glass, in Metaverse Creativity in 2012. Her article examines the collaborative work of CapCat and Meilo in Second Life, integrating the notion of shared creativity; [t]he aim is to describe and analyse their cooperative creative process from the perspective of one of the artists/authors, walking through three artistic works that were made in the Second Life® region of Delicatessen: ‘de Maria, de Mariana, de Madalena…’, ‘Petrified’ and ‘Meta_Body’. These projects reflect two aspects of the artists’ work on the one hand avatar art, and on the other the creation of virtual environments. The text also reflects on the concept of shared creativity, which the artists propose through their avatar creations. The article is worth reading in its entity as it is a great source of information for Second Life residents, artist and non-artists alike. It is also beautifully written and in so many ways mirrors the work by Cap and Meilo that we see in-world.  To me, the work of these two women (and Takio and Rita) reflects the essence of metaverse creativity and, no doubt, they are virtual world artist pioneers. I leave you here with a quote from the first part of CapCat’s article:

We are two metaverse avatars. We are also mother and daughter; I am CapCat Ragu and Meilo Minotaur is my mother in real life. We are both artists, and as artists it seems that all through our lives we have been dealing with the same issues that we are now working on together in the Metaverse. When I was a little girl I used to love the Carnival holiday. In Portugal this is a time to dress up, and to imagine ourselves as the other… I remember my mother staying up all night working on these amazing seethrough butterfly wings for me. I think that these were the first avatars we ever made together.

 

Photographs by Kate Bergdorf

coming up at berg by nordan art

There are several new exhibits coming up at Berg by Nordan Art . First in line is the new installation The Swamp by Meilo Minotaur and CapCat Ragu, which opens on Sunday, June 4, at 10 AM SLT. The Nordan om Jordan sim will be closed to the public on June 2 and 3 for installation so please make sure to check out Penumbra before then if you haven’t already. The Amona Savira Memorial will be removed at that time also. About The Swamp, the artists note that it is a metaphor for fascism, from the point of view of Meilo Minotaur’s actual experience of fascism in Portugal, the Carnation Revolution, and the actual lived experience of CapCat Ragu from post-revolutionary Portugal. At a time when the crisis is trying to push us back into obscurantism is the moment to resist, to fight against the totalitarianism of capital, but never to return to fascism! Sound installation is by Takio Ra and voices by Rita Eustáquio. As is also the case with the current installation, The Swamp avatars will be available for free for gallery visitors.

Currently on view in the main gallery since the beginning of April is the show MYdigliani by daze Landar. daze’s show will be on display until the end of June. Beginning of July we have an exhibit by Senna Coronet, followed by a show by moon Edenbaum in October.  Mich Michabo is finishing up her new exhibit for Gallery M. As always, all parts of the gallery are accessible via teleport from the main Berg by Nordan Art gallery. Please be on the lookout in-world, as well on Flickr, for reminders and landmarks as we get closer to the opening dates. Lastly, make sure to post your photos taken at the gallery in the Berg by Nordan Art Flickr group.

Poster of The Swamp by CapCat Ragu
Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

phabolaois strain

There is a new destination, Phabolaois strain, by the designer duo Miuccia Klaar and Squonk Levenque. This is a mostly flat space, but with a few hills, consisting of water and rain. Trees, boats, docks, benches, houses, seagulls, ruins, a light house and a large air balloon, as well as other objects, are dispersed throughout. The sim derives it’s theme from the island Phabolaois strain, founded in 1578: The discovery of large amounts of hephaestium due to the great meteor shower of 1862 made the island interesting to neighboring countries such as France that was not blessed in receiving this new and revolutionary mineral. After the failure of diplomacy France sent its troops in march 1865. A task force invaded Phabolaois stran finding only little resistance by the natives. The 1st batallion legionaires and the 4th senegalese tirailleurs occupied and ruled the land for a short period of time. Britain did not respond as most of the troops were involved in the African campain (1865-1877) which ended with the battle of Tripoli and with the Border and Sea Protection Act issued 1864 to respond to the threat of Germany and Austro-Hungarian naval forces. Indiscipline and boredom drove the french occupying troops out of Phabolaois stran to join the Belgian army as mercenaries. The island remained inhabited until 1928 when Gwynplaine, son of Lord Clancharlie, one of King James political enemies, arrived and established himself in a little surviving property, seeking refuge from the king’s men and Dr. Hardquannone and his ”comprachicos” (pirates scavenging the coast). Due to his disfigurement, Gwynplaine sought isolation and peace together with his blind girlfriend Dea, his friend Ursus and his beloved dog Homo. Only the mansion, a few wrecks from the french invasion and the remains of an unknown ancient city are still to be seen. Seagulls and a deadly and deceiving tide protects Phabolaois strain today.

Phabolaois strain has a set region WL, which I strongly suggest to use as it makes all the difference in the world. It lends the sim the foggy, misty and generally wet ambience I believe it was meant to have. While the theme of the sim at first glance is of course about the old island, to me the meaning of it also extends beyond that; the places created by Miuccia and Squonk are generally all about the inside and the outside. The outside, with  rain, grim, bare, cold, leaves the visitor feeling lost or, perhaps forlorn. The inside, which usually consists of interiors of decaying builds, piles of thrown together old stuff, but a perfect mess really, suggests belonging, warmth and comfort. The visitor’s experience of the interior and exterior spaces combined is a sense of poetic melancholy.

Let me also note here that there is no doubt in mind that this designer pair has found the perfect virtual rain. It is heavy and strong, pouring and wet, with just the right amount of feeling of wind. I am also in awe about the objects that are repeatedly used by them, mostly refurbished, scruffy old stuff. These are things that have been found in a virtual attic or flee-market, no doubt. Head over and take a look and make sure to post your pics in the Phabolaois strain Flickr group.

Addendum: Here are a few things I neglected to include: As of today, the sim is not yet open to the public, but it will be soon. Also, there will be moments, and I suspect this is dependent upon the tide, when it will not rain! Finally, and so glad to hear this, the cool space Le Petit Japon will still be accessible.

Photographs by Kate Bergdorf

the validity of virtual photography

I generally believe that misperceptions, or even conflicts, are not bad. If dealt with in a constructive manner they in fact often demystify things. In this post then, I address the common misperception that “real life” photography is more valid than virtual world photography. I look at some of the criteria that overlap in both. I address the difficulty of some critics to accept virtual photography as legitimate. I talk about virtual photography as the same and as different, and as a means of communication between people in Second Life. I consider that virtual photography, especially as perceived on Flickr, may in fact be a new form of art.

I am not a photographer by profession, merely a novice snapping pictures in the virtual world. But regardless, and again, as mentioned in my Le serpent qui danse May 11, 2017 blog entry, it seems to me a photograph is a photograph whether it is taken in real or virtual worlds. If not, would someone please explain to me what is actually the difference?

One of the reasons that I care about the meaning of virtual photography is because I am getting fed up with it being thought of as second best to “real life” photography. It just doesn’t make sense to me. In fact, there are many criteria that overlap when it comes to virtual and “real life” photography. There are virtual images that are of better quality than others, just as it is the case with “real life” photography. The question of what is art pertains to virtual and “real life” photography alike. The thinking involved in the creative process of virtual and “real life” photographs is the same. And so on.

Probably certain critics of virtual world photography, and of SL Flickr, have a hard time consolidating the fact that virtual photography is legitimate because they experience it as a threat. In their minds, this kind of photography must not be real because these days any novice has access to editing tools required to produce an image. But isn’t that great? Why condemn people who experiment creatively with photography? Shouldn’t we be open to creativity in all its forms? Why so frightened of the new and the undefined?

I firmly believe that a virtual photograph is just like a “real life” photograph. But I also believe that it is much more than simply an image; it is a tool for people in Second Life to communicate with each other about their virtual experiences in a virtual community space (Flickr). When we are part of a virtual world like Second Life, we communicate in-world via IM, voice, poses, profiles, and with our choice of avatar appearance. A big part of our communication with each other is also expressed creatively with our photos on Flickr. There are virtual photographers on Flickr who I have never met but I feel I know them because I know their photographs. They have become familiar to me.

Lastly, and boldly, I would go as far as suggesting that virtual photography as we see it and experience it on Flickr is art. So while the virtual photograph is just like the “real life” photograph, it is also not. It represents a new form of art with categories and criteria of its own. I will not go into this too much here because it is something that Tutsy Navarathna and myself discussed at length in the past and even considered putting together a publication about. We may still. It was during these discussions about virtual art and Flickr that Tutsy cleverly coined the term Flickrism.

In conclusion, I think it is safe to say that a virtual photograph is the same as a “real life” photograph. In addition it also serves as a communication tool for creative people occupying the virtual world. And we may want to start considering virtual Flickr photography a new virtual art movement in its own right. Virtual photography is not only the same as “real life” photography it is also different. Different is a usually a good thing, at least in my book.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf