Wednesday, 11 July 2012


Curtain © Ina Jang

While steaming hot summer days continue here in New York, it feels like the perfect time for me to catch up with some cartoons neglected for the past few months. Ever since I moved here, I have never owned a TV. But during the past couple of years, thanks to generous streaming services, I was able to find a way to revisit cartoons from childhood such as The Rose of Versailles, The Jetsons, and Tom and Jerry.

While revisiting these cartoons, I realized that the world projected in them was much less complicated than in my memory. The details were often omitted and simplified. In my memories they were fabricated and manipulated with more complexity. With the realization of this simplicity, a new obsession grew in me - taking screenshots of the cartoons. The simple lines and whimsical colors of illustrated American living rooms captivated me when watching Tom and Jerry. What if Peter Griffin let me photograph his house? What about photographing the sunset in Springfield?  After a few screenshots, I now wonder what other possibilities there are in working with screenshots.

Morning from Grand Theft Auto, 2008 © Joan Pamboukes

The Factory from Grand Theft Auto, 2008 © Joan Pamboukes
In video games, so called 'screenshot photography' is widely followed and acknowledged. Video game screenshots are usually made for promotional use - to display its appealing graphics and stories to captivate the gamers. Gamers also often take screenshots to share their unique experience in virtual worlds. It is not that different from how we use photography in real life. We often take pictures to document something special. And there are quite a few projects based on video games. One of the favorites is the 'Grand Theft Auto' series where the virtual world closely resembles reality but also leaves room for users by making the game a 'free world', meaning that gamers can explore the world as they wish.

jpeg bb01, 2004 © Thomas Ruff

jpeg ny02, 2004 © Thomas Ruff

An American photographer Joan Pamboukes documented exquisite landscapes of this famous game. While well-known for its outlandish violence, Pamboukes succeeded in finding peacefully composed digital environments within it. Speaking of possibilities in making work with the media, Thomas Ruff's 'jpegs' cannot be missed. Some of the series were made with images from the internet with jpeg compression; pixelized, digitized and abstracted images answer recent changes in structure of photography.

Living Room © Ina Jang

Sunset © Ina Jang

Yellow Wall © Ina Jang

It seems like more and more works are being made using the virtual world. My journey has just started and it is a great way of avoiding the tan while making some images. It is as easy as command + shift +4 ('print screen' for window users).

Ina Jang (Foam Magazine #28/Talent)


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