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INTERVIEW: Community Virtual Photographer AnnaWhiteVP

2 Jul 2023

INTERVIEW: Community Virtual Photographer AnnaWhiteVP

INTERVIEW: Community Virtual Photographer AnnaWhiteVP

Author: Gothic Wizard  /  Categories: Community Content, Interview  /  Rate this article:
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This week we have someone I have been following for some time. She is an amazing VP artist and I am so very glad she took the time for us. Here is Anna White 2077 VP from Europe;

First can you tell us a little about yourself, where you grew up and what attracted or inspired you to get into this art form?
My name is Anna, I'm 23. I was born in a small town in Kazakhstan but grew up in Portugal. My parents decided to go there to earn some money when I was 4 y.o. and when I was 11 they decided to move back to Kazakhstan, that's where I live right now.
I've always loved playing games on PC since early childhood and at the age of 15 my dad bought me a camera. I've been doing IRL photography for 8 years now and I always wanted to combine these 2 things that I like to do. That's what brought me here into Virtual Photography.

How did you learn this form of digital art?
I always learn everything on my own, never had any mentors or teachers. Just experimenting each time to make progress.

What drew you to the cyberpunk genre?
I think this is connected with my love of neon lights and curiosity about the possible future. That's why I fell in love with Cyberpunk 2077 at the very beginning since the first trailer. Interesting plot, beautiful and unique open world and all the mechanics really caught my eye. It actually is the only cyberpunk genre game that I play.

What in your view is the best aspect of the cyberpunk genre CDPR got right with 2077 and what do you feel they missed the mark on?
The positive aspects for me are: a really beautifully made world with lots of interesting places in the city where I still can find something new,  the atmosphere, the plot and the characters are great, love the story. The negatives I think are connected more with my expectations about immersiveness. I wish we could really live in this city, I feel there is a lack of things to do there besides side quests, for example the survival system where sleeping, eating, drinking is necessary to stay alive (thanks to modders for making it possible), to be able to party in the club or meet with friends/go on a date with someone you chose and stuff like that. Also there are so many interesting buildings I'd like to visit but you can't do that in the game, they're just objects and it frustrates me.

What message, to you, does the cyberpunk genre imply or relay as a viewer, fan?
The thought that I always have on my mind is that no matter in what kind of future you are in, you should always remember that you are a human with feelings and friends matter. Nothing will be fun without the true ones by your side.

What photo/GFX tools that are not in 2077 would you like to see in the sequel Project Orion?
I don't really expect a lot, I'm used to work with everything that I have right now and it's not bad but it would be great to have an option to set your light as you like in a photomode, or at least to set the time of the day and weather options, to have more slots to save your presets and the most importat - more poses!

What drew you to the 2077 game specifically? What keeps driving you to keep making content for it?
Lots of different places in the city and a big variety of customizing your character. That's what brings me there again and again. You can take shots of different people with different stories and each of it will be unique.

What about the 2077 characters specifically got your interest? All time favorite NPC in 2077 and why?
Jackie Welles is my favorite without any doubt, a true friend that everyone would like to have. And in Cyberpunk 2077 that is full of lies it's really a treasure. Also I have a big sympathy for Rogue, she's a strong woman that keeps the city in a tight grip and survives. She is a legend in my opinion. Strict, demanding, hard but deep inside she keeps her feelings. That's what I love in these two characters.

If you have to pick one, team Judy or Kerry? Why?
Kerry, he's a crazy guy, you can have a lot of fun with him but he's also tender and caring.

If you have to pick one, team Panam or River? Why?
Panam. She has great charisma, love her personality and she's so cozy and fun.

What tools do you use to make your art? How long does it take to go from idea to posting a pic? What's the process?
I take screenshots in the game photomode, sometimes using Cyber Lit by Otis_Inf especially if I'm taking portrait shots, after that I edit them in CaptureOne. I rarely use in-game effects. The time depends on how I'm playing the game. If I launched it firstly to only take some shots to post, it takes about 3 hours with post-editing them. But usually I never have a plan of what I'm going to shoot, it's always a real time improvisation so sometimes it can last even about 6 hours spent in game or even more if I'm really inspired. I also don't post them straight away, I wait for a particular time because I post lots of different games.

How long have you been doing this art form?
First try was long ago. One day I found out about the photomode in the game The Crew and started taking shots there. But that was, if I remember correctly, in 2014. At that time I didn't know that it's a whole form of art so I stopped because I was doing it just for fun to share with my friends. But years later, in 2022 I started sharing my pictures on Twitter and noticed that it actually is a real form of art and I have lots of like-minded people. So I suppose Twitter is the place where I learned about VP and after that I started to transfer my IRL photography knowledge into Virtual Photography. So "officially" I'm doing it about 6 months only, I guess.

What are your thoughts about AI art, cyberpunk or otherwise? Is it really 'art' in your view or just several 'stolen' images mushed together? What is your take?
It's a hard question but for me it's so artificial that I'm not really interested in that. I believe that art is always connected with humans beings. With their talent, emotions, experience. A lot of people can say that the human being actually tells the AI what to "draw" and therefore it's half-human made, but I saw a great example of how it can turn out bad for real artists. Unfortunately I can't find it anymore but I saw an article that showed how AI copied a style of some artist, it really just stole her arts, put them together to create something "new" but if you compare those pictures you can clearly recognize that these arts were originally made by her, the true artist. The sad thing is that the AI art got much more attention in a short period of time than this artist had ever before even though she spent years practicing and developing. That sadness me, I feel like it's not fair.

Where do you see the virtual photo art form 5 years from now? Will we be able to easily tell it from actual photos by then and if not does that concern you?   
Seeing the progress of the graphics in games I believe that in 5 years Virtual Photography can also be used to make shots for real fashion magazines, posters or different commercials. I hope it'll be taken more like a real profession so VP'ers can get different contracts from companies. I saw lots of examples that are just perfect for these purposes. Soon we'll not be able to recognize what is real and what is not, it's already happening, I love to trick my friends and show them some of my shots, they don't believe some of them are not real taken photos. I don't see anything bad in this, that's the progress lots of people have been waiting for a long time since first games appeared and I'm glad I'm living in this era.

What trends in the VP space do you foresee becoming big in the field? What trends, aspects of VP do you hope gets left behind in the past?
Never thought about it, really. I like seeing more and more cinematic shots but in the unique style of each VP'er. I think it will be a forever trend. And also the experiments with the light and exposure. And about what I hope gets left behind - I love something that is not a typical shot where I can't even see the difference between two different pictures because they're too based. ( I'm not talking here about classic portraits and landscapes. It's good in some situations but let's be creative.) And I hope that screenshots (with UI turned on) will not be referred to Virtual Photography because a screenshot is not a photography. I still see it sometimes unfortunately.
(I hope I got this questions right, sorry)

What has been your most positive experience in the 2077 community and on the flip side what has been your most negative?
The most positive experience I guess was at the moment when I learned how to use mods to make my shots and my playing experience even better. Thanks to those people who make them and to those who tell you what mods they use in their posts. On the flip side the most negative moments are when I have to prove that developers really care about their game and they really made a great job fixing it and making it better and better with each update to people who played it on the release, dealt with some bugs and problems and dropped it straight away. They just refuse to see the love that developers are giving to Cyberpunk 2077. Like c'mon, give it a chance, you'll love it!

Fav couple (not necessarily official couple) you have done or would like to do VP for and why?
My favorite official couple is my streetkid male V with Panam. They are awesome, love them. Two people with absolutely different styles of living but they suit together so well. And non-official couple is my female corpo V that looks dangerous and a bit mysterious with Rita Wheeler the prominent member of the Mox and a bouncer for Lizzie's Bar. They look like they can rule the world together. I made a VP set with them and maybe will do more in the future.

Do you think these are skills you'd like to make a career of on some level or you prefer it as a hobby?
I made a career in my IRL photography and I'd love to do the same with a VP. It's always great to do what you really like for living and not sit in the office hating your job (gladly I finished this stage of my life).

I've seen a lot of memes from artists that imply if you do vanilla art you will hardly get any notice, but if you do spicy art you'll get tons of attention. Do you feel those memes are accurate for better or worse? What are your thoughts on that?
I think it's not true. Of course everyone loves spicy art even if they don't talk about it but each type of art has its fanbase so I don't think you have to stick to only spicy art to get more attention. If you like vanilla more, why not? Just do what you like, you'll get noticed anyway. I didn't see any difference when I tried both of these.

Fav 3 mods (not VP specific mods) you use in the game and why do they make this list?

1. First and the most favorite one is Cyber Lit by Otis_Inf. Must have for good shots.
2. Virtual Atelier that makes possible to add new clothes/accessories in the game from other modders. (I wish we had more option for male V)
3. The Survival System by Di Crash, that's the immersiveness I always wanted to have in Cyberpunk 2077.

And my most controversial question... Which of the following labels would you assign to whom (one use each)? ;)
Marry, BFF, FWB(friend with benefits), Close Friend, Casual Friend, Indifferent, Dislike, Hate, Mortal Enemy, Kill


Oh that's really hard, I wish I could use "Marry" at least 4 times, hah.

Evelyn: Indifferent
Goro: Dislike
Jackie: BFF
Johnny: Mortal Enemy
Judy: Close Friend
Kerry: Kill
Lizzy: Hate
Meredith: FWB
Panam:  Marry
River: Casual Friend


And finally what are the socials people can find you, and do you do commissions? Any final words to the readers? Thank you for your time!
My socials are Twitter (@AnnaWhiteVP), KPTUR and Picashot  (@AnnaWhite) and Instagram for IRL photography (@aw.pht).

Don't be afraid to experiment with your VP, develop your talent, practice makes perfect and soon you'll see the progress with your eyes, just don't forget to check the difference between your first shots and last ones. And the most important thing - don't do it like it's a job, you should always enjoy the process no matter what you do, if you feel tired take some rest for a day or more not to burn out until you feel the passion again.
Believe in yourselves, because I do believe in each of you!

I didn't take commissions before but I have a PayPal ( paypal.me/awvp ) in cases if someone would like to give a tip if they want since Twitter monetization doesn't work in my country.

Big thanks for having me, it was an awesome experience!
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