What happens when a professional photojournalist, whose work has included coverage of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, takes to The Last of Us Remastered's Photo Mode? See for yourself with a thought experiment by Time's photo blog, LightBox.
Time assigned photographer Ashley Gilbertson, whose shots of various conflicts have been featured in the New York Times, the New Yorker, and others, to play through The Last of Us Remastered and take screenshots using the game's Photo Mode. One of the new features in The Last of Us' PlayStation 4 release, Photo Mode lets players freeze the game at any time and play with camera angles and lighting effects to take carefully crafted screenshots.
Gilbertson wrote about his experience with the project in a LightBox post accompanying his images.
"I initially played the game at home. But after a short time playing it, I noticed I was having very strong reactions in regards to my role as the protagonist: I hated it. When I covered real war, I did so with a camera, not a gun. At home, I’d play for 30 minutes before noticing I had knots in my stomach, that my vision blurred, and then eventually, that I had simply crashed out. I felt like this could well be my last assignment for TIME.
"Call me soft, but I’m pretty sure it was my brain being overwhelmed and shutting my body down. It sounds extreme perhaps, but I’m wired that way."
Gilbertson ended up going to the Time offices, where a colleague would take care of the combat and then pass the controls to him to take screenshots.
"In combat, I need to be in position, prepared for a shot, and I’ve only got hundredths of a second to make it before the situation changes and I have to move on," Gilbertson continued. "There’s one moment, one frame. Within the game, I could freeze time. I had unlimited time to experiment and find my shot using different angles, depths of field, exposure, grain, vignettes and lenses. The zen approach to how I work in the field is lost within a gaming console. There, I had the opportunity to second-guess myself every time I hit pause."
You can read Gilbertson's full account, and see the complete gallery of shots, at Time LightBox.