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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Real-life pictures in Second Life © – Stareyes Galaxy reporting ….

In Second life ©, there is a bifurcation of the attitude to sharing one’s own real-life (RL) pictures. Many avatars are dead against such a practice, saying that SL and RL are two separate entities. Then there are others who freely share their real-life pictures, right on their profile. Furthermore, many design their avatar appearance to match their real-life looks. I interviewed some avatars to get behind the reasoning behind the different views of sharing real-life images.
The question of the day is “Does sharing real-life pictures enhance the fantasy, or kill it?” I met Anastasia at MIAMAI main store, where she works as a model. “It depends,” she answered.

SLE: How, and on what does it “depend"?

Anastasia: First and foremost, it would depend on how well and for how long I have known the person. I am not going to give out RL info or images to just anyone I come across.

SLE: Would you, at a certain point, insist on seeing that other person's RL picture, and would you be willing to share yours?

Anastasia: I don't know that I would insist on sharing RL pictures.  I have known many people in my SL for a year or more and we have never seen a RL pic of each other... With others whom I consider close friends or family I have shared a RL image, and they with me.

SLE: Does seeing someone's RL picture change your perception of that avatar?

Anastasia: I can't say for me personally it has. I get to know the person first and foremost, and I try not to judge a book by its cover.  If in a SL relationship of a romantic nature, it may alter perceptions, as you do get used to someone looking a certain way as an avatar which may differ greatly from their RL person, but the underlying person is still the same either way.

SLE: If you have shared YOUR pictures with someone, have you sensed a change of attitude in them, toward you?

Anastasia: Actually, the very few whom I have shared a RL pic with have indicated no change in attitude or behavior towards me.  If anything it has enhanced the bond of friendship as opposed to hindering it.

Later, I came across Sam and Bobby, shopping at the Utopia main store. To the question on sharing real-life pictures, they both had similar views, but to sharing their own images, their attitudes differed.

Sam: I don’t need a pic or whatever, sometimes it kills the fantasy, sometime it’s nice to have.

SLE:  At what point in a relationship do you think you would want to share RL pictures?

Bobby: It depends on the person behind the keyboard, the way she or he is. [The picture] has to match.

SLE: Have you shared your RL pictures, between the two of you?

Sam: No.
Bobby: She has her RL picture in her profile; I don’t like pictures of myself.

SLE: Okay, Sam - is there a particular reason why you have your RL picture in your profile?

Sam: Some people wanna know there is a girl behind this avatar, that’s the reason.

SLE: Do you think, Bobby, when seeing her RL picture, it changed your relationship?

Bobby: No, why? You don’t need to share pictures to have a relationship.

SLE: Thanks. Anything else either of you would want to say about the topic of sharing pictures?

Bobby: Some people need a pic to have a conversation; I need a conversation to have a pic!

Sam: Pictures just aren’t important to me.

Finally, I had a nice chat with a friend of mine, Victoria1980 Resident. She is a Southern Belle who has worked her way from a dairy farm girl wading through cowpie country to becoming a successful part-time model, both in RL as in SL. She has recently built up a house and furnishing business, “Victoria1980 Creations”. After settling comfortably on the couch and having exchanged greetings, we began the interview.

SLE: I heard you have modeled your avatar to your real-life looks. How did you do this?

Victoria: Well, I met this man after a short time in SL, and all he asked for was a head shot of me from RL. Within 2 hours he completed the shape, passed it to me, and we bought a skin, close to the tone of mine. I completed the rest of the shape as per say my figure, and such.

SLE: Is this a commercial service he provides?

Victoria: No, he was just a friend on SL, but has left for now, so I guess it was just a hobby for him, but I would have to say, he should have done it as a business on SL, because he is really that good!

SLE: How do you think he succeeded? Can you go to your mirror and say "yep, that's me"?

Victoria: Yes I can, he is/was the best I have seen on SL for recreating a person’s image, detailed to a mole on my back as well. But shapes in SL can be very easy to reconstruct, it’s the face that is the most important part.

SLE: So, did he edit the shape of the face and skin as well?

Victoria: No, he created the face from a RL photo, then created my shape, but asked me to finish it with my own touch.

SLE: How important is it to you that you look like your real-life self on SL?

Victoria: Oh, it’s very important to me. I was born and still am very much a Christian, so to log into SL any different than I am in RL, would be a waste of my time, but in saying this as well, I believe all people in SL should be who or what they want to be. Me, I chose to be just “plain ole me”.

SLE: You have a modeling contract in real-life, so your RL pictures are under contract, is that right?

Victoria: Yes they are, I do it part time, not full time.

SLE: Have you had a lot of people ask for your RL pictures?

Victoria: Yes I have, but yet again, that could get you into some trouble sharing personal information, as I have been stalked in RL and SL as well, so I try to warn people against doing such things.

SLE: How do you feel about people who openly share their RL appearance?

Victoria: Well, that depends, how well you know someone on SL. I have a roommate who has turned out to be my best friend, so I do share some of my personal information with her, but with others, I don’t let it go too far. It hurts badly, as I found out, friends I have made when I first joined SL, that’s where all my loss of trust started on here.

SLE: Is there any final remark about sharing real-life appearance in your profile, or giving RL pictures to friends?

Victoria: The thought of passing [any] personal information to people when I have no idea who they are, is totally against my beliefs.

We went on to have a little photo session on Victoria’s patio. She also gave me a picture of her in bikinis, as an example of the photography by her friend who designed her avatar looks. Anyone can have their opinion on making their RL pictures available, but with SL photos as amazing as this one, who needs real-life photos to share in Second Life?

Victoria1980 Creations:


  1. I am Freda Frostbite in SL and Stephanie Mesler in FL. My avatar is as close to looking like rl me (but younger and healthier) as I could manage without paying someone to do it for me. I am always open about who I am in both worlds. This is largely because I share my real work in SL. (I am an author.) Freda never wrote a darned thing, so I get the credit.

  2. The RL pic is less important to me than voice. I have no problem sharing my RL pic with someone after I've gotten to know them. Like, my RL pic is on my Skype account, so if we talk on Skype, you see my goofy mug. I think if someone isn't even willing to talk on voice, then they're hiding something huge. Like, a spouse or age or gender. People can download a pic and pass it to you, but voice (unless it's on a voice morpher that is so good it can't be detected) can't lie. That being said, my bf and I have exchanged pics and I feel like it's brought us closer.

  3. I won't pin point my statement out to anyone personal, I speak in general. There are many people in this world who have there own views, reasons, etc. for keeping their personal information non-public. If they choose to do that, that surely doesn't mean they're hiding anything Huge. The word PERSONAL means just that, now if you happen to get a person really well in SL, or even RL, then you and only you have that choice to share, so in saying this, I honestly can say I don't share a lot, WHY?. because i am one of the thousands of people in this world who has been stalked in RL, and SL as well. I have nothing at all to hide, i am a true Christian. All Iask is don't judge me, and if I invite you to cross over MY Line, then I consider you my real friend. Like me for who I am or just move on, we all have this choice, :)

  4. Does anyone really look at dishonesty or even honesty on sl? How many thousands of avatars out there cheating on there spouses, Virtual sex, web cam's ect., Our minds were not created as one denominational, if you live in fear, dishonesty, I suggest you find other ways to have fun on sl, Stop pointing fingers at people who you don't know, If they want to get to know,find and dandy, but if they dont, that's totally up to them, same as in rl. People have sl all so wrong as i see it. They wrap this game up on sex, and it shouldn't be, there is so much beauty in and around sl. So keep it that. If one chooses to be lone,so be it, if not,find you a partner, but make sure your single, if not your as guilty as the rest,Just "saying"

  5. I am one of the majority. I do not post my RL photo in my SL profile, but I am willing to share it if asked by a SL friend whom I have known for some time. But I hate those people who immediately judge me as soon as I refuse to share my RL photo. For example, I met many people who thought I was lying about mt gender when I refused to share my RL photo or do a voice session with them.


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