The Last of Us: Ellie stalks the shadows taking down her enemies with brutally quiet arrows. (Pat, The Last of Us)

The extent to which violence is embedded in our culture often goes underestimated and misinterpreted. There exists a vague and scattered dialogue about violence in modern media, but it usually dissolves to nothing more than speculation or political agendas. This discussion gets resurrected in extremes, either attached to a larger tragedy in the news as a fear mongering sign of the times, or as a threatened and insulted response to that coverage. This back and forth has drawn definitive lines separating the parties involved, there are those who seek to vilify this culture, equally many who argue to protect it, while the majority of people do not want to worry about it. This discourse needs the acceptance of a middle ground and a readjustment to discuss violence as it exits rather than through vague speculation and sensation. Photography has the power to slow down time, to draw out otherwise unnoticed moments into a conversation. It is also perceived with a high level of credibility, to lend something solid to a dialogue bloated with abstracted studies and inferences. I seek to record interactions between people and the culture of violence in perhaps the most targeted, and relatively young, medium of video games to document exactly where the violence is dangerously overlooked and where it is harmlessly enjoyed.

PAX East: The PC Freeplay area swarms with attendees taking a break from the company booths, new announcements, and lines to play games together, friends and strangers alike.

PAX East: 2K’s newly announced Evolve shows off it’s playable villain silently screaming out as it towers over the crowds.

“Check this out the game has persistent entry and exit wounds.” (Pat, The Last of Us)

“I’ve never wanted to play Grand Theft Auto, it’s just too weird.“ (Owen, Super Mario 64)

“All my friends are dieing, I think.” (Emily, Fallout 3)

Insurgency: I unknowingly recreated Tracey Shelton’s photo series “Killed in an instant”, reference material that haunted me throughout my undergraduate thesis on the Syrian Civil War, but I didn’t notice what I had recorded until later I was pulling stills out of the screen captured video, the digital equivalent to Tracey Shelton’s process.

“SHIT FUCK TIT LICK CUNT” (grantschuetze, Insurgancy)

“You guys don’t have class tomorrow, I have class tomorrow, we can keep playing.” (Pat, The Last of Us)

PAX East: Attendees play a heated round of CS:GO at the Corsair booth, the stakes are high and everyone is playing their best, the player with the highest score gets free swag.

I was told to go wake up my younger brother John up for breakfast and found him sleeping in after a late night of playing CS:GO.