The war photography of The Last Of Us Remastered

4 min read

TLOU Warh (4)

War, what is it good for? Snappy photography, that’s what! HUAH! If you’re jamming The Last Of Us Remastered right now, then you’re most likely also tinkering with that Photo Mode included in the game, sharpening your camera eye as you focus in on a mushroom special gone wrong. And that’s cool. What’s really cool however, is getting a seasoned war photographer to document that apocalypse. Hey, it’s a game, don’t look at me like I’m sick.

TIME Magazine grabbed Ashley Gilbertson to document a trip through The Last of Us Remastered, and take a few photos along the way. If you’re unfamiliar with the more new-genny version of The Last Of Us, Photo Mode essentially allows you to pause the game, play with the lighting and set up a camera at any angle you want. According to Gilbertson, he was initially rather keen to take all those photos, comparing the experience to Mishka Henner’s series No Man’s Land, wherein Google Street View was used with unexpected results.

TLOU Warh (1)

However, Gilbert soon came to hate having to become a protganist, instead of an observer. “I hated it,” Gilbertson wrote.

When I covered real war, I did so with a camera, not a gun. At home, I’d play for 30 minutes before noticing I had knots in my stomach, that my vision blurred, and then eventually, that I had simply crashed out. I felt like this could well be my last assignment for TIME.

Call me soft, but I’m pretty sure it was my brain being overwhelmed and shutting my body down. It sounds extreme perhaps, but I’m wired that way.

To get back into the swing of things, Gilbertson then decided to hand the controls over to another, allowing himself to properly embed himself in the game for his primary task. “That’s when I started to make better images – the whole experience resembled an actual embed, with someone doing the fighting and me taking photographs,” Gilbertson explained.

TLOU Warh (3)


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The Last Of Us Remastered is a pretty damn good looking game. But there’s one thing that it doesn’t get right, according to Gilbertson. And that’s showing a proper range of emotions.

None of the game’s characters show distress, and that to me was bizarre – it’s a post apocalyptic scenario, with a few remaining humans fighting for the survival of their race! To be successful, a player must be the perpetrator of extreme, and highly graphic, violence. I’m interested in a more emotionally engaged type of photography, where the human reaction to a scene is what brings a story to life. That was tough inside this game. Occasionally the characters show anger, though generally they’re nonchalant about the situation they’ve found themselves in. In the end, their emotions mimicked that of the zombies they were killing.

I’ve got a high-end camera, so I’m pretty sure that and my one-hour open book test at the community college makes me a pro. Here’s a photo that I took, which I call “What’s for lunch”.

What's for lunch

Last Updated: September 16, 2014

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

  • Jonah Cash

    So let me get this straight: They asked a real photographer to play a game and use the in game photo mode to capture the game???? Some people and businesses have too much time and money!!
    And then they chose a guy who doesn’t even play games???? And he hated the Last of Us???? Throw him in the jail we built for Geoff, by the way has anyone looked in on Geoff in his jail or did we leave him to rot???

    • JJ the Reus

      I don’t think Geoff can rot, actually.

    • I have never said I hated the game. Just that it’s a tad overrated. ;P

    • Hammersteyn

      He called them zombies, they are the infected (mutated humans reshaped by a fungal infection) and there is quite a difference between the two.

  • JJ the Reus

    I probably still need to play this someday.

    • Hammersteyn

      Yes you do, one of the few that actually deserved the hype.

      • JJ the Reus

        So if I buy this I’ll have five PS3 games. Eish. Things are getting out of hand now.

        • Hammersteyn

          Hahaha sell your PC,buy a PS4 and join us on Destiny 😛

          • JJ the Reus

            That’s crazy talk. What will I do without Planetary Annihilation, Civ, The Forest, Reus, Tropico and the other 149 games on my Steam Library?

          • Hammersteyn

            OLX your Steam account?

          • JJ the Reus

            Sacrilege! That’s like selling my child. Scratch that. If I had a child I’d probably sell it for Steam games. That’s like selling my soul.

          • Hammersteyn

            Yeah, I mean you could always make another one
            *Hears laughter from very very deep down below

          • Dark Overlord Jaybles

            On that note, I saw a player belonging to a Lazygamer clan on Destiny last night, do my eyes deceive me or is there a LG clan I can join, if so what does a guy have to do to get an invite around here 😛

          • There is indeed. Quite a few people on it now (think last check was 96 or so).

          • Hammersteyn

            Welcome fellow guardian, Go to the link below sign in and request to join, then and this is important, you need to set your profile as either PS or XBAWX after approval. Or it won’t show in the game.


          • Dark Overlord Jaybles

            Alright signed up and ready for duty, yeah currently 126 members, so growing quite nicely Id say.

  • Wait till OvG sees this. He’ll be talking about the game while he’s alone at home. Guy is obsessed with it. I swear he IS a ticker…

    • OVGrounded new game+++

      Over 100hours and still going. After 30 years of gaming no other game has grabbed me by the balls like this game has. You know my taste.

      Whatever game testing they did for the new Grounded Mode, it worked, because on each play you start a scene with a different ammo and tool count on the Auto Save and then its your job to get through it whatever way possible. I little luck is involved but it never stagnates.

      It will be a very looooooooong time before I have another gamegasim like this.

      ALSO, the 50 GIGS on the disk is mainly uncompressed sound and being ex-army I can vouch for the most realistic gunfire that i have ever heard. It even beats the Film HEAT.

      Shooting a single bolt action rifle in the frozen wilderness blows your eardrums out followed by the 2 second echo with birds flying from the fright.


      The Devil is in the detail.

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