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13th March 2023
Community Spotlight: Lily's Incredible Virtual Photography

Community Spotlight is a regular feature that highlights and celebrates amazing fan projects in the Remedy community. This time, we're focusing on a fantastic individual who has been such a pillar of support in the Remedy community, Lily!

Visit the Control fandom and one of the first pieces of work you will see is by one of the community's most prolific virtual photographers, Lily. Her passion for the game has helped shaped so much of the fandom and also influenced the studio's online activities. Known for her breathtaking photographs, she has captured and published hundreds of shots from Control, alongside creating monthly and weekly challenges.


Over the years, she's shared her beautiful shots through fan-driven events including #TOHTuesday (The Oldest House Tuesday), #FadenFriday, and #AlteredApril. She has also created a month-wide challenge, #JesseJanuary; a sizable but manageable challenge for those who hoped to improve their skills for their new year resolution.

It's maybe no surprise then that, since picking up the game in 2021, she's also joined the @CaptureControl team with Barry Paust, whose brilliant work continues to help support and strengthen the virtual photographer community.

A portrait of Jesse Faden, taken to the side. The colours are black and white with a faint sepia tone.
Events aside, as well as bringing in a passion for community and the game, she also has an incredible eye for the perfect shot. One thing which is noticeable from her portfolio is the amount of experimentation and play that takes place in the pieces. Some are themed around a specific colour, whereas others could be a movie poster featuring Jesse in the foreground or a dramatic piece of environmental concept art. One common thread which ties Lily's work together is their boldness; she carefully selects the use of shadows and light to add emphasis to the pieces. 

It's an ability that has led to her work being published on the Control, Remedy, and 505 Games social media channels and websites. They've been used not only to represent the community, and the studios' fan initiatives but also for events such as International Women's Day. 

Control is not the only adventure she's documented either, with other games including Cyberpunk 2022, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Stray, Death Stranding, Elden Ring, and Horizon: Zero Dawn.

We recently spoke to Lily about how she got started in virtual photography, her introduction to Control, and her advice on how to get started in the hobby. Check out our interview below!

We would love to learn more about you! Can you tell us a little about yourself? 

Of course! My name is Lily and I live in Germany. I love video games since I was a kid. As a toddler, I watched my brother playing games on an old Sega Master System. He gave me an unplugged controller, so I could press buttons myself while he was playing. That’s how it all started! My other passion is History. I am studying European History and I truly love everything about my discipline. Old papers and letters, coins, inscriptions. There is always something new to discover! 

Jesse standing in the Quarry, her portrait is accompanied by a swirling dark blue sky and stars.

How did you get started in virtual photography and what about it appealed to you? 

To be honest, before I joined Twitter, I didn’t even know virtual photography was a thing! I always loved to take screenshots, but I never thought of sharing those with others. One day, I made a post on Twitter about Control and got some really nice comments about my captures. This encouraged me to share more of my shots. For me, virtual photography is a way to express myself and to share the things or moments of a game, that I find interesting, with others. Everyone is different, so everyone noticed different things. That’s what I love the most about virtual photography! You can play a game for hundreds of hours, but still discover something new on a shot someone shared.


How did you develop your eye for a great shot? And were there any people who inspired you

Oh, that’s super kind of you to say! Thank you. :) I don’t know if I really have an eye for great shots. A big part of it is practice. It’s hard to explain, but I have a feeling if a shot looks “right” or not. I developed it over time while taking shots myself and looking at the work of others. You can learn a lot from the community. There are several people who inspired me and still do: Shinobi (@shinobi_space), Maria (@solinstruments_), Barry (@BarryPaust), Steffi (@StefanieMcMaken) and many more.

A collage featuring Jesse alongside her official directorial portrait. Faintly, images of paperwork and the official FBC seal can be seen framing the piece. 

How do you select the games you screenshot, is there specific criteria that you look for in the titles? 

Not really. I’m curious, so I play a lot of different games. I love to play around with photo modes, and try out all the filters and stuff. It always took a while before you really get into a new game and photo mode. 


How did #JesseJanuary come about? 

It was in the last week of December. While taking shots of Jesse for #FadenFriday, I was thinking: "I would love to share them all. One Jesse day per week is not enough!" So I came up with the idea of posting a shot every day for a whole month. To be honest, my first thought wasn’t #JesseJanuary - it was #FadenFebruary. In the comment section on Twitter, I told Juha Vainio (the Executive Producer of the Control Franchise) about my idea. He said: "Great! But now we have to wait until February." He was right, I didn't want to wait either. Because of Juha's and my impatience, #JesseJanuary was born.

A top-down view of a long table, filled with scattered paperwork, phones, and files.

What's the biggest thing about virtual photography that looks easy but actually is tricky to get right? 

In my option: the light! If you look at a portrait shot someone shared, the light exposure often seems perfect… but if you try it yourself, it’s always too dark or too bright. This really drives me nuts sometimes! 


What made you decide to pick up Control

The game was part of the Humble Bundle Choice in March 2021, so I decided to give it a try. I was really late to join the “Control party”, but I was all in from the very first second! 


What are you most looking forward to about Control 2

I’m so curious [about] where the story will lead us! Did the Hiss get out of the building? Will Dylan wake up from the coma? And what about Dr Darling? I really hope we will see him again. Matthew Porretta did such a great job in the first game, I want more (music) videos! 

Metal boards form a smooth path across red rock and sand, through a cave. A sign reads "Research Site Delta" with an arrow pointing through. The end of the tunnel has a warm glowing light. Reinforced metal scaffolding provides extra strength from small rocks for anyone passing through.

Are there any games, currently out on or on the horizon, that you're looking forward to diving into to photograph? 

Alan Wake 2! As far as I know, a photo mode is not confirmed yet, but I really hope the game will have one. And even if not, the community will find a way to take amazing shots. I really can’t wait to dive into the game, Alan Wake [has] always had a special place in my heart. The atmosphere in the first game was something else, I’m so excited to capture the woods and Bright Falls in the new part.


Do you have any advice for those looking to get involved in virtual photography?

Have fun! And don’t put pressure on yourself to be “perfect”. Like many things, virtual photography is a process. You will learn how to take shots while doing it. When I started, I thought I will never be as good as others in the community, this can be very frustrating. So, I decided to not compare myself with others any more. I share the captures I’m happy with, that’s the most important thing! And it’s totally fine to not share anything for a while, taking a break is often necessary to find new inspiration. One last [piece of] advice: Always take the shot! Even if you’re unsure how it will turn out, just take it. You can always hide it if you’re not satisfied, but it’s nearly impossible to create a moment twice. I cannot count the missed opportunities because I was too critical… and still regret it!


Thank you to Lily for talking to us and sharing her gorgeous artwork. You can follow her adventures at @LaSimilicious

-- CONSOLE & PC GAMES --

The Crossfire Series

The Control Series

The Quantum Break Series

The Alan Wake Series

The Max Payne Series

Additional

-- MOBILE GAMES --

-- LIVE ACTION SERIES --

Icons by the incredible, Evil-Owl-Loki.

Beyond the shadow you settle for, there is a miracle illuminated.