I discovered an excellent article about Second Life photography (thanks to a tweet from Gridjumper).
“What I like # 79” by Cajsa Lilliehook, the Shopping Cart Disco columnist, spotlights a range of wonderful photographs taken in the virtual world of Second Life. Cajsa thoughtfully analyzes what it is she likes about each picture and also provides links to each photographer’s photo stream on flickr.
Suitably inspired by Cajsa, I thought I would depart from my ‘realistic as possible considering this is all virtual’ approach. Instead, I decided to switch over to something more moody. I also thought I would be rather more daring than usual and step onto a role play sim. Role play areas in virtual worlds allow visitors so long as they agree to comply to the list of visitor/observer rules. In some ways, this is the closest I will ever get to being Doctor Who; after all, he travels through time endeavoring not to effect events, as that would in turn alter history, and that would cause a great bucketful of squirming, unknown, consequences to spill out across the universe. Obviously, people who don’t know what they are doing can be quite distracting to both role players and historic moments in time.
I decided I would visit a vampire role play area thinking this would provide me with atmospheric gothic scenes appropriate for my new photography. I landed in the vampire welcome area (there’s an intriguing concept) and conscientiously read the rules before acquiring my observer’s badge. I even invested in some medieval attire though I felt my avatar looked much more like a Sunday school teacher than a vampire. (Note to self, it takes work to look sinister however I let myself off with the easy approach as intentional moody photography seemed quite enough change for one day.) I then wandered through a string of boutiques designed to cater for the style conscious vampire who might be tempted to impulse buy on their way to the blood bank. Eventually, I found a gondola moored at the edge of a mysterious lagoon and proceeded to follow the instructions for entering the vampire realm. As I understood it, I was to click on the gondola wearing my badge and then I would be whisked off to join the vampires. No such luck! I probably tried for a good thirty minutes to put my avatar’s soul in jeopardy but all to no avail. A sinister chap walked by at one point but I was much to timid to address him. He had an air of intense purpose, obviously thirsty for virtual blood and much too polite to sup on a visitor hanging around the shops. After he was gone I returned to my task; I sat in the gondola, I stood up, I re-read the instructions, I re-visited the list of rules, I clicked on the gondola yet still nothing happened, my soul stubbornly remained terribly safe.
I did wonder a few times if I had fallen for vampire humor? But then, I reasoned; visitors must be permitted as, just like bridge clubs and choirs, there must always be calls for new blood? In the end, I accepted that sitting in the gondola wearing an observer badge was the closest I was ever going to get to vampires. A day later, I figured out that the real reason I could not visit the vampires was because I don’t have an ‘Adult’ rating set up for my avatar. Good thing really, I don’t want to go there anymore!
All this reminds of the time I decided to get a tattoo (a ‘real’ one that hurts not a virtual one). I headed out with my tattoo design drawn up nicely. I felt ready to be embossed in insoluble ink only to discover that tattoos were illegal in the state of Massachusetts at that time. The next day i realized I really did not want that tattoo after all imagining how it would look when I was in the care home at 95. So… becoming a vampire is now equated in my mind to my tattoo near miss.
I dug deep into the Second Life destination guide looking for an alternative atmospheric setting. As you can see I picked upon Chateau Medieval, Dreams of Maelys a very sunny, airy castle nobly haunted by a display of famous French feminists. The castle was created by Sabine Creber, a French woman dedicated to fighting violence against women in both real and virtual worlds. It was just luck that brought me to the castle and the work of Sabine Creber but it had a sweet synchronicity following my failed attempt to enter the realms of inevitable aneamia.