photographer inspiration: Jon Rafman


Photo by Google/

Jon Rafman 

from 9-eyes series

The images in this series were all captured with Google Street View's roving camera vans. But Jon Rafman carefully combed through a countless number of these Street View images to find ones that stand out.  The images he's found are surprising, funny, unnerving, intimate, mundane - the moments captured  run the gamut of human experiences and emotions. Crimes/arrests, couples embracing, celebrations, people flipping the bird or mooning the camera, isolated individuals against vast landscapes - these have all been documented by a neutral/mechanical gaze yet they are full of humanity and poetry.

From his artist statement: 

In Street View photography, Google cars, mounted with nine cameras, roam the earth recording automatically whatever comes within their purview. The detached gaze of their cameras witness

but do not act in history. Street View photography, artless and indifferent, without human intention,

ascribes no particular significance to any event or person. Bereft of context, history or meaning, the

only glue holding the Street View images together is geospatial contiguity...

And yet the very instruments that alienate us can also inform us about the nature of our alienation.

...Our own experience often parallels this detached, indifferent mode of recording with

consequent questions about our own significance. By becoming aware of Street View’s way of

conceptualizing our experience, however, alternative perceptions become possible...

Read his full essay


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