Photographer Benoit Paillé Captures Real Photos of the Virtual World of GTA V

Back in October 2013, we featured the work of Fernando Pereira Gomes, an artist who creates street photographs in the virtual video game world of GTA V. Montreal-based photographer Benoit Paillé also works in the same virtual world, except he takes his work one step further: he uses a real world camera.

Video game photography is nothing new, but generally practitioners use their keyboard to take screenshots of digital scenes. Paillé, on the other hand, enters the game world on a large screen and uses a DSLR to capture sights.

His stated goal is to “overlay a material reality with a virtual one, erasing the border between the two worlds. […] I want to show that we can use a virtual space in conceptual photography and approach these areas with the same sensitivity as the physical space.”

Paillé takes his art very seriously. While wandering through the game world, he uses the built-in GPS system to mark places that interest him. He then returns to those virtual locations when light, time, color, and weather are right. Once photos are captured on his real-world DSLR, he processes the images in Lightroom.

Next, he inserts a real arm and camera into the frame. The lighting of the hands photo is carefully controlled to closely match the light that would have fallen on the hands had they actually been in the scene.



Here are some of the resulting photographs:







GTA V is becoming quite the popular venue for photography. Last October, we also shared a time-lapse video created entirely inside the game. Since that time, the video has gone on to receive nearly one million views.

We’ll likely be seeing this type of virtual photography appear more and more as games become increasingly realistic.

(via Sploid)

  • Brandon Rechten

    So, what’s the next logical step here, someone creates a video game about taking DSLR photos of video game screenshots?

  • Rabi

    What a strange process. The results are kind of stunning.

  • Fernando Callo

    Just enjoy.

  • Darwin

    …Pokemon Snap?

  • Jordan Butters

    As completely bonkers as I’m sure that guy is, the results are actually pretty good. There’s a creative process, skill and vision involved – who cares if his background plates are created from a computer game? Great find!

  • Azety

    2:30 ” i dont want to wait the magic moment like Cartier-Bresson, i want to create it ”
    ok. Bye. Next video please.

  • David Vaughn

    #rude *sassy head shake*

  • louisleblanc

    Well you might have wanted to wait for the next sentence where he said that this project forced him to wait for the decisive moment to get the perfect shot in the game…

  • Sid Ceaser

    This is actually pretty cool stuff.

    Those final images above are gorgeous advertising photos waiting to happen. Someone needs to hire him to do some advertising and marketing for the game in this fashion.

    The video make me skeptical, but looking at the final images below, he’s on to something that is pretty neat.


  • Gatot Jaka Timur

    Too much video games Pale!

  • Alex G

    Benoit if you are reading this, pay no attention to the nay-sayers. I have been following you from 4 years ago. You never give up your artistic integrity and I love you for that. Hope to meet you some day in San Francisco or Berlin.

  • markz

    Likewise, I’ve been following, favouring and commenting on his flickr account for a few years now and find his work, both real world and virtual world, to be some of most interesting and engaging work around.

  • Federico Montemurro

    Lot of explanation needed for an ok result.

  • Aezreth

    When you first hear the concept it sounds stupid, but these are actually quite well executed.

  • Cinekpol

    Much better than a garbage we’ve seen last time – which was a long collection of screenshots featuring rather underwhelming graphics engine from GTAV.

  • Guest

    i have no time for a pretentious hipster with an crazy accent.
    This is masturbation, not photography.

  • James B Nichols

    what Scott responded
    I’m shocked that anyone can make $9947 in 4 weeks on the internet . find out
    here now W­ o­ r­ k­ s­ 7­ 7­ .­ C­ O­ M­

  • james

    Yep, Benoit’s work is top class! I love his rainbow gathering portraits.

  • George Johnson

    I actually found myself doing something similar in Skyrim. I’d wander off into nowhere, frame up the screen as if were shooting one of my normal landscapes and capture a screen grab. It’s a bit of fun on a rainy day. I don’t think it’s as exciting as people seem to believe it is but the guy has found himself a great niche, something that’s not very easy these days in photography. Not really my thing but fair play to the guy.

  • Omar Salgado

    No puede haber arte cuando el medio es el fin. Ésa es una estrategia del arte posmoderno que precisamente destruye el arte.

    Él cuestiona la veracidad de la fotografía, pero cuestionar eso no es nuevo; tampoco aludir a lo virtual hace profundo este tipo de trabajo, más bien, antes, lo vuelve pretencioso. Toda imagen fotográfica, o toda imagen sobre un plano, es virtual; lo que la vuelve virtual jamás es lo electrónico, sino la apariencia e ilusión.

    Este tipo de trabajo debería añadirse al libro “Photography as Contemporary Art”, de Cotton, pues encaja perfectamente con todas las estrategias de destrucción de arte usando el medio fotográfico. Lo triste es que dichas estrategias se nos presenten como arte.

    De verdad, nada nuevo bajo el sol. Incluso pienso que, en vez de obviar la cuestión de virtual/real y veracidad, este trabajo encubre dicha cuestión.

  • Azety

    My comment was deleted, but i was saying that i watch the whole video, i follow his work since 3 years, but i dont agree with everything.