Doug Rickard scours Google's maps to find instances of the ordinary buried inside.

California-based artist Doug Rickard does for Google Street View what the pause button does to video — he frames moments that previously existed only in passing.

Rickard explains his process of finding print-worthy images in Street View in a recent PBS NewsHour report narrated by KQED's Scott Shafer:

The sort of drive-by picture-taking is symbolic in a way of the anonymous, you know, nature of how these people live. Even the textures of the images, which is almost broken down in terms of the digital artifacts and the pixelation, it feels -- poetic I think is the right word.

Rickard is not the first to use Street View in this way. In July, The Observer highlighted the Street View work of Michael Wolf and Jon Rafman. Despite using the same source material, the work of these artists is markedly different. Where Rafman's feel sensational and Wolf's artistic, Rickard's feel completely down-to-earth. The Observer article notes, "It was William Eggleston who coined the phrase 'photographing democratically' but Rickard has used Google's indiscriminate omniscience to radically extend this enterprise – technologically, politically and aesthetically."

Use of such technology creates a distance between subject and photographer, but also provides unparalleled access to places. It also removes the dual considerations of framing and simultaneously capturing a moment — on Street View, the moments are already captured.

The NewsHour report, below.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: bicyclists in Paris during a transit strike in December.
    Transportation

    Paris Mayor: It's Time for a '15-Minute City'

    In her re-election campaign, Mayor Anne Hidalgo says that every Paris resident should be able to meet their essential needs within a short walk or bike ride.

  2. animated illustration: cars, bikes, scooters and drones in motion.
    Transportation

    This City Was Sick of Tech Disruptors. So It Decided to Become One.

    To rein in traffic-snarling new mobility modes, L.A. needed digital savvy. Then came a privacy uproar, a murky cast of consultants, and a legal crusade by Uber.

  3. Life

    Why Amsterdam May Clamp Down on Weed and Sex Work

    Proposals to ban cannabis for tourists and relocate the red-light district would dramatically reshape the city’s anything-goes image.

  4. photo: Cranes on the skyline in Oakland, California
    Life

    How to Make a Housing Crisis

    The new book Golden Gates details how California set itself up for its current affordability crunch—and how it can now help build a nationwide housing movement.

  5. Equity

    There Are Far More Americans Without Broadband Access than Previously Thought

    The Federal Communications Commission says 21 million Americans lack high-speed internet access, but a new report says the actual figure is double that.

×