What do you get when a city council member’s office, two art nonprofits and an outdoor media company come together and agree on something? What you get is this terrific Los Angeles Public Art Project. Read more…
In 2011, photographer Michael Wolf was awarded Honorable Mention in the World Press Photo 2011 contest for screenshots taken from Google Street View. It immediately sparked a debate regarding whether or not the work should even be considered “original photography”. The Independent has an interesting article about a different Street View “photographer”: Jon Rafman, whose work we’ve featured here before.
At first, [Rafman] would spend eight to 12 hours at a time traversing the globe from his desktop. “It was destroying my body,” he says. But when the images he’d collected went viral online, he began to take submissions from other users, too. Some had collected images of prostitutes at work, others presented car accidents, even dead bodies left by the side of the road – and, presumably, ignored by Google’s drivers. Many of the images in the exhibition have now been wiped from the web: the perps lined up against a wall by the São Paolo police are gone from Google Maps. A man sitting with his legs splayed strangely around a lamppost in Toronto has been blurred into obscurity.
Rafman’s images, by contrast, are almost entirely untreated. He even leaves the Google Street View navigation tool in the top-left corner of each photograph. “The work is connected to the history of street photography,” he explains, “but also to the 20th-century ready-made movement. So leaving those artefacts in the image is extremely important. In the bottom-left corner of each picture is a link that says, ‘Report a problem’.
Google Street View photographs: the man on the street [The Independent]
Named after the fact that Google Street View cars shoot with 9 separate cameras, Canadian artist Jon Rafman’s Nine Eyes of Google Street View website is an ongoing project that publishes strange scenes photographed by Google’s automated cameras. Rafman writes,
This infinitely rich mine of material afforded my practice the extraordinary opportunity to explore, interpret, and curate a new world in a new way. To a certain extent, the aesthetic considerations that form the basis of my choices in different collections vary. For example, some selections are influenced by my knowledge of photographic history and allude to older photographic styles, whereas other selections, such as those representing Google’s depiction of modern experience, incorporate critical aesthetic theory. But throughout, I pay careful attention to the formal aspects of color and composition.
[...] I can seek out postcard-perfect shots that capture what Cartier-Bresson titled “the decisive moment,” as if I were a photojournalist responding instantaneously to an emerging event. At other times, I have been mesmerized by the sense of nostalgia, yearning, and loss in these images—qualities that evoke old family snapshots. I can also choose to be a landscape photographer and meditate on the multitude of visual possibilities.