Game Journey Photography

by Clinton Coddington and Jon Beall

Game Journey Photography… yet another monthly column. As you think through whether this is worth adding to your RSS feeds and bookmarks, allow us to take a moment to tell you what you’re in for.

First, this is a photo-essay. Every month we’ll feature a handful of photographs and talk about them for a bit. If you don’t like that, you won’t like this.

Secondly, we are gamer-nerds. If you don’t like reading about board games, or seeing pictures of board games, or if for some reason the notion of sitting down to play a board game makes you violently ill… this column may not be your cup of tea.

But if you look down into your teacup, and you realize that next to you at the table there is a stray chit or meeple from last night’s gaming, and you think that maybe it would be fun to take a photo of that game-piece next to your cup of tea then this column is definitely for you. For your game has just taken a journey, and you are thinking about doing some photography.

Some months we might have a theme to our photographs. (This is not one of those months.) Some months we might talk about the rule of thirds, or leading lines, or how to capture a game in different ways. (This is not one of those months either)

Some months we might just throw a few photos on the page, and call it a day. That’s exactly what kind of month we’re starting off with.

Artifacts – Clinton Coddington

Jon: I like this photo because it highlights the components without any distracting background elements. I’m also a sucker for shadows in photos, and I love the horizontal shadows at play in this photo.

Clinton: This was one of those spur of the moment pictures for me. I saw the way the light was hitting the table and knew I wanted to take a picture that would take advantage of the strong natural light coming from one direction. I was able to arrange the artifacts from Forbidden Island so that one side would be shrouded in almost black shadow and one side would be brightly lit – causing the colors to pop. This is one of my pictures were I see the light as being the focus of the picture itself.


Knizia in the Study - Jon Beall
Knizia in the Study – Jon Beall

Clinton: I really like the intersecting lines and the shallow depth of field that draws your eyes into the composition. The subtle hint of color works well – fading  from green to red and back out to green (an excellent use of contrasting colors). I really like the way the natural light highlights the shapes of the components.

Jon: This is the first part of my “Knizia in the Study” series. I wanted to capture Tigris and Euphrates in a way that highlighted the focus and concentration of the game, without capturing the brighter color tones of the game board.  I set the game up on my dining room table, and shot in early morning light using only the light that came from the porch door. This let me capture the shadows and darker colors, without highlighting the actual gameplay. I lined up the monuments along the edge of the board in order to give a point of focus in the picture.




Xenophobia - Clinton Coddington
Xenophobia – Clinton Coddington


Jon: I have never played this game, but this photo reminds me of Star Trek, when a landing party explores a ship that doesn’t have any power. The black and white treatment here makes me think of the industrial waste that is typically scattered around that type of scene.



Clinton: I love the little plastic spaceships from the game Cosmic Encounter. They are very colorful and have a wonderful texture. Most of the pictures I take highlight the colors since they cover both the primary and secondary colors. In this one I wanted to highlight the shape and the texture. I felt black and white would be the best format for this. While I love how colorful some games can be I am also intrigued by the different shapes and textures in games.



Knizia in the Study 2 - Jon Beall
Knizia in the Study 2 – Jon Beall

Clinton: I really like the choice of black and white with this picture. It really draws your eyes to the shapes; the way the cards are set out creates an interesting set of lines which draw your eyes across the frame. I also really like the way the light creates a fantastic gradient across this photo.

Jon: This is the second part of my “Knizia in the Study” series. I shot this on a black desk, and I had drawn the blinds so that there was only some light coming from the bottom of the window. Battle Line is a game that prompts a great deal of study. Cards are played in sets and sequence in order to capture tokens that are set up across the middle of the play area. You have to play a total of three cards in order to capture a piece, and so I focused this photo on the idea of “three”.


We hope you enjoy what we have to offer – the intersection of two favorite hobbies of ours. Not only are games a fun social activity but they are little pieces of art. There are all kinds of wonderful colors, shapes, textures and patterns.

We could ramble on and on about gaming photography, but inevitably someone would tackle us and duct tape our mouth shut. There is so much more we want to share with you in the future – we hope you enjoy what we’ve shared here and hope you will continue with us on our journey of gaming photography.



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