While looking for places to photograph Sienna Week I realized how much of what can be done is Second Life is like being a tourist in a foreign country, only without a reliable atlas or guide.
You wander about a strange place, occasionally getting tips from people or finding a blog to point you in a way. Sometimes you stumble onto a place you adore, linger a while, then when you go back a few months later it's gone. More often you walk through streams of places meant for purposes other than looking at them - stores, or gathering places, or even just residential areas with no rhyme or reason to them. Second Life is a world that exists beyond Home Owners Associations, except on private land.
And some places you stop to snap a picture.
A lot of places are styled after offline places, or offline times - like Steampunk. I discovered Steeltopia when I did a search for Steampunk, my outfit being enough in that style to make the combination sensible. I had thought about going to the Babbage sims, which are renowned for their Steampunk Style and sprawl across several sims, but I wanted something a bit more unusual and out of the way.
The reason for making things like offline things, even though the world within Second Life can be so different, is a matter of both ease and a necessary frame of reference. We know how to exist in a world with gravity, we know what a store looks like, what a mall looks like, how to talk in a garden, and how to find romance in a club or a bar. A world without those meanings and without those references might seem astonishingly, even off-puttingly alien - like being in a foreign country for too long where one doesn't speak the language.
I read on a number of blogs about how the very normality of Second Life is a sadness, that it shows a lamentable lack of imagination and creativity. I think it might be a reference to how far we can step outside of the rules of the world we live in and how we organize the world around us. A few steps, an exploratory dash, is a wonderful thing and fills us with a rush, but go to far without points of reference and it can become unsettling, even terrifying.
We make the world within Second Life, but it is a world within which we must still exist. Perhaps that, more than a lack of creativity, is an answer to why we remake a world so like our own.
(More pictures here.)
Skin: MiaSnow, Rainbow Tan 4
Eyes: Tacky Star, Pride
Ears: Illusions, Mystic Ear - Fairy
Hair: Calico Ingmann, Suzume - Golden
Wings: Fancy Fairy, Azarelle - tinted Sienna
Shirt: Blue Blood, Combo of Fluture and Astrid Whitegoth
Vest and Skirt: Silent Sparrow, Lysi
Shoes: G Field, Bow Strap Shoes "Kate" - white
Pose: Leafy, Say Cheese
Light Settings: Nam's Robots of Dawn
Water Settings: [TOR] Atomist
Photographed by Deoridhe Quandry
Post processing: Cropping only