It might take a third or fourth close look for you to see that the images presented here are not, in fact, real. The places themselves are real, and they look just like they do in these images, but these aren’t pictures of those places. They’re CG images generated using an engine typically reserved for complex gaming environments. Artist John Gerrard uses this technology to create these “virtual sculptures,” be they a soldier watching the aftermath of war in Afghanistan or the chilling presence of a large pig farm (read “factory”) planted in a Kansas landscape.
The recurring theme in Gerrard’s work is the gloom of the settings he chooses, embodying their most emotive aspects and the dire implications of each in a fully artificial depiction. It really makes you think about what exactly makes a good journalistic photograph say so much. If it’s a part of the visual aspect, then Gerrard has certainly dealt with it, painstakingly assembling every minute detail from the original scene into his work.
Gerrard has done various series in this style, each covering a different theme, over the past few years. Below is a selection from several of these works.
Cuban School (2010)
Infinite Freedom Exercise
Grow Finish Unit