Hamilton Ward

Hamilton Ward
Photographer/Videographer and Gameplay Capture Artist for EPIC Games

Bachelor of Fine Arts, digital media concentration, UNC Charlotte (2015)

Hometown: Doylestown, PA

Probably the most valuable lesson Hamilton Ward learned while a student in the Department of Art & Art History was “how to give and receive criticism,” he says. “It’s been an incredible help for me in this career.”

A case in point: Early in his education at UNC Charlotte, Hamilton spent an entire weekend in the Rowe Arts darkroom, printing pictures. “I was so excited about the results that I couldn't wait to show my professor, Ann Kluttz, on Monday morning. She went through my prints in under a minute and said these were ‘ok,’ and I needed to try again. I didn't understand what was wrong with them, so she sat down with me for 30 minutes and went over each print, showing me how the highlights and the shadows were off and how the image was just a gray image and had no depth to it. She showed me how to view the world photographically, and it's a lesson that I've never forgotten and one that I hold on to this day. It's shaped my career and how I view art.”

Now, Hamilton works for EPIC Games, Inc., the multi-billion-dollar video game and software developer responsible for megahits like Fortnite. Hamilton calls his work “virtual cinematography”: “The easiest way to describe it is that I help to make movies and trailers in a digital space. I'll record gameplay, create scenes, and light those scenes as well.” Check out a sampling of his work, including Fortnite trailers, here.  

Hamilton’s artistic activity spans a wide range and often keeps him connected to his alma mater. In recent years, for example, he has worked with Professor Heather Freeman to create her documentary, Familiar Shapes, and Associate Professor Marek Ranis on his video, Cartographer. He also has films of his own. In 2016, Miss Addie Johns - Brewton, AL screened at the Indie Grits film festival in Columbia, SC, and Ronnie Ward - Brewton, AL screened at the Visions6 film festival in Wilmington, NC, where it received an award for “Excellence in Experimental Film.” In 2020, Bitter Southerner published his 16-minute documentary, Summer Headstones, funded with a grant from the Southern Documentary Fund, which explores the history of racial discrimination in Southern swimming pools.

Hamilton’s photographic work has been featured on local billboards as part of the ArtPop Street Gallery, and he has exhibited in North Carolina at Goodyear Arts in Charlotte and White Walls Gallery Forest City and in South Carolina at the Greenville Museum of Art. He is a recipient of a 2022 Artist Support Grant awarded by the Arts & Science Council, which will support the creation of cyanotype prints made from photographs taken in a digital landscape (below) – a process he first discovered in a class with Associate Professor Aspen Hochhalter.

cyanotype print by Hamilton Ward

In addition to maintaining faculty connections, Hamilton has stayed connected to his fellow alumni.

“My advice to current art students would be to make as many friends as possible with your fellow students. These are the people who are going to help you when you go out into the world. These are the connections that you'll use to land your first job. I still talk and hang out with people from my graduating class. We still motivate each other artistically, even after six years.”

See more examples of his work on Instagram.