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5W About My Practice.

Artist Blog by Maxim Zmeyev

Hello everyone!

In the first part of my blog, I would like to introduce you to what I do and why it is important to me.

The photographs presented here are a small part of my work process when developing projects. In the following parts of the blog, I will showcase photographs of the projects themselves. I am very happy to see you here! My name is Maxim Zmeyev. I worked as a photojournalist for 13 years, including as a staff photographer at Reuters and a freelance photographer at AFP. During this time, I only focused on documentary photography. However, I have always been interested in how photography is evolving now, what is happening with it, and how new media can expand approaches to photography.

Documentary photography is a significant part of photography history, but it is well-established, and experiments are very rare. Photography is not a static art, and I am interested in exploring how it is evolving at the moment. Throughout its history, photography has changed, and one of the main factors of change has been technological advancements and chemical and physical experiments. Large format cameras, 35mm cameras, colour photography, black and white photography, photo plates, film, cyanotype, digital photography, analogue photography, mobile photography, and much more - all these are changes in the plasticity of the photographic language and lens-based medium.

Each of these experiments enriched photography and provided new ways to tell us about people, events, and the world. New media allows us to look at social processes from a new angle. Virtual photography (in-game photography) allows us to explore and analyze people's dreams and desires. In a world created from code, players often have more freedom than in real life. You can make decisions, act, and play a role that is not available to you in real life. You are not bound by state laws, the laws of physics, and sometimes even moral laws, so the virtual world becomes a very interesting subject for documentation, including hidden human desires. Also, the flexibility of virtual worlds allows us to transport to different historical eras: past, present, and future, fantasy, space, cyberpunk, post-apocalypse, and other settings allow us to act in unique conditions not available in our world. But games are also a way of manipulation. Games reflect social issues, ethnicity, gender, colonialism, poverty, migration, and falsification of historical events.

Video games do not exist in a vacuum; they are a mirror of social changes happening in societies around the world. Unlike other forms of art, they offer immersion - giving you, as a player, the opportunity to influence and change the virtual world you are in. For example, what will we do if we survive a nuclear war, how will we behave? How will our society be organized, and how will survivors interact with each other? We do not know, but games can be one of the simulations that we can explore and study thanks to hundreds and millions of real people who play and interact with each other in the game. In my Artist Feature and upcoming blog posts, I try to demonstrate to you how in-game photography can reveal social issues and what virtual spaces can tell us about ourselves. I will introduce you to three of my projects:

Type 1.5.11.

ID 2.100.

Tsardom 3.10.

For me, virtual photography, which I engage in, is a symbiosis between documentary photography and simulation. Through in-game photography, I document times that do not exist, worlds that do not exist, homes that do not exist, and with a camera that also does not exist, but in the existing printed photographs of this project, we can see real social processes happening between people.

Maxim Zmeyev is part of »Guest Room: Varun Gupta & Arpan Mukherjee«.

Check out his Artist Feature “Type 1.5.11.”.