Google Earth is a truly epic project.
Yesterday, I stumbled across a fascinating website which got me thinking about how amazing it really is. Jon Rafman’s 9 Eyes website shows a deeply fascinating selection of images from around the world taken by Google’s fleet of Street View camera vehicles.
In their endless quest to photograph every highway and byway in the free world, the nine Street View cameras on each of Google’s cars automatically capture whatever moves through their frame every ten to twenty meters. The resulting photographs are then stitched together to create a detailed panoramic window on the world in which we live.
Back in 2008, Canadian artist Jon Rafman began collecting some of the more interesting and unusual of these views, forming a collection which at times both embraces and defies the detached, automated process of their creation.
Hilarious, poignant, surreal and often quite beautiful, many of the images perfectly capture what Cartier-Bresson described as the “decisive moment”. And occasionally, some of these gritty urban snapshots appear reminiscent of the work of realist painters such as Hopper or Manet .
Here’s a few of my favourites from the collection…