Even the best photojournalists can’t make video game war photography work
If anyone could capture the terror, desperation, and occasional joy of surviving the apocalypse, you’d think it might be award-winning war photographer Ashley Gilbertson — a man who spent years covering the Iraq invasion for The New York Times. This week, for Time magazine, Gilbertson “embedded” himself in (also award-winning) video game The Last of Us, using its built-in photo mode to capture shots of protagonists Joel and Ellie making their way across a dead but still hostile landscape. Gilbertson, who developed post-traumatic stress disorder during the war, found the game too bloody, intense, and disconcerting to even play himself; he took the controls only to operate the camera.
But the photos? The photos, even at their most dramatic and well-shot, are bland.