Street Photographers Are Turning to Virtual Reality To Create Photographs

Everyone is in quarantine and the streets are empty, but that’s not stopping street photographers from doing what they love.

For street photographers, having the streets void of people is an absolute nightmare. But due to the Corona Virus, this is the reality many street photographers are dealing with right now. Mandatory quarantine means everyone is indoors – and rightly so – as we do all we can to overcome this global pandemic. It would be easy for street photographers to put their cameras on the shelf and allow it to become a dust collector. But that’s not the case for those who refuse to become stagnated during this difficult period. Instead, they’re turning to an unlikely source to get their daily fix of street photography – a video game.

Street Photographers Use Video Games

Red Dead Redemption 2 is an action-adventure game that allows players to roam freely through its open world. Roaming freely is part and parcel of being a street photographer. Having the ability to go where you want when you want, capturing all that interests you along the way, is what makes the craft so appealing. Right now, that freedom has been stripped away. In times where we’re all adapting, it makes sense that street photographers would find other means to do what they love.

We spoke to London based street photographer, Nico Froehlich, about his experience of creating street photographs in the virtual world.

“Red Dead Redemption 2 has bustling cities set in 1899, America,” he told The Phoblographer. He adds, “the way they designed light and shadow in the game is incredible. It’s actually like doing real street photography.”

Photographers like Froehlich can create images by using Photo Mode, a feature that allows you to capture and save images inside the game. Amongst a range of options, Photo Mode allows you to control the exposure, depth of field, and add filters to your virtual lens. The camera may not rival the best cameras for street photography, but it allows you to create images that are extremely close to reality.

Helping to Keep People Safe

But as well as keeping the mind creative, the game has another benefit, says Froehlich. “The best thing about it is that it’s encouraging people to stay indoors. Which is so important, because you still get some photographers who go on little photo walks around London.”

With the UK and most of the world being told to stay inside, going on your daily photo walk isn’t the best response to the current crisis the world is facing. But having an outlet in the virtual world can still give you your fix of street photography – and ensures you’re not putting yours, and others, health at risk.

How street photographers are adapting should be applauded. It’s a fine example of how, even in times of crisis, the human mind looks to adapt, overcome, and find new ways to be happy in life. If you’re struggling to be creative during this global lockdown, there are plenty of ways you can keep busy. That will be far more beneficial to both your creative desires and all-round mental health.

You can see more of Nico’s work over on his Instagram page.

All images by Nico Froehlich. Used with permission.