Immersed in PacMan!

Immersed in PacMan | ©2019 Naomi Reiter

Immersed in PacMan | ©2019 Naomi Reiter

As a young 'un way back in the 80's, when we carried around Sony Cassette Walkmans, Nintendo Game 'n Watch consoles were the rage and colour computer screens were verging on almost normal (well, in homes that even had a computer at least). The war between VHS and Beta video was going strong, oh, and who remembers the Apple 2e computer? (Ok, now possibly I'm revealing my age)! Well, there were also cool games like Pong, but the best one was PacMan!

These two siblings were captivated by this 'crazy old computer game' (to quote their words), which admittedly brought all the present adults into a state of excited reminiscence, re-igniting fun memories of an iconic childhood game and bringing that memory into the immediate moment.

The kids literally spent most of the party playing PacMan, much to the delight of their Dad, who understandably made no hesitation to jump in on the fun to conquer the ghosts, collect fruit and bonus points to make PacMan victorious!

The photos for this award image were photographed in a 'fly-on-the-wall, documentary approach during a first birthday party I was commissioned for. I literally went back to observe and document their game every so often during the party when I could see a fun little narrative coming together. First when Dad jumped on to demonstrate how to play, then the interaction of the two kids and finally Dad jumping back on after the game was lost to show them how it's done!

I loved the interaction these two had with their Dad and each other as they became more and more deeply absorbed in this super cool game. The photos are virtually straight-out-of-camera (thank you Olympus AU & NZ) with almost no editing of the scene and no instructions from me to the kids to direct them at all.

If you look closely, there are a couple of little 'Easter eggs' in this story: the untouched slice of cake on the top of the gaming console near the little boy; (who needs cake when you have PacMan right)? Then the movement of the water bottles from the console to the floor as things got serious, then one of them falling over when the little boy lost the game. The staircase in the house was deliberately left in to set the location and also create a symmetry which I also felt represented the levels in the game.

I imagined Pacman characters flying around the room as the kids became increasingly immersed in the game which ultimately became my inspiration to create the illustrations.

2019 AIPP NSW State Awards | Silver Award

2019 AIPP APPA Awards | Silver Award 2019 AIPP Australian Family Photographer of the Year

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