Henry Grabar is a staff writer for Slate’s Moneybox and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.
Finding worlds in aging infrastructure.
"It just revealed itself to me," he says of one of San Francisco's unusual ball-topped hydrants. "It mimicked the shape of a planet."
With the aid of Photoshop, Kennedy has since helped dozens of rust patterns evolve into frozen tundra or lush, Earth-like paradises, outcomes he says are dictated by the worn-down infrastructure itself. "If I try to force my idea on it it doesn't work."
The photographs, which he collects on his website "Planet Universe," made a splash on Reddit last weekend. Now, Kennedy has launched a Indiegogo campaign. He wants to turn his planets into posters, t-shirts, and a coffee table book.
He's since come into contact with other found worlds, like Christopher Jonassen's frying pan planets, or similar projects that imagine geography in grease-stained pizza boxes or rust patterns.
It all began, Kennedy says, with a fascination with texture. "The growth of the moss on a brick spoke to me," he says. "The patterns kind of imitated how forests might grow on the surface of a rocky landscape."
He says he doesn't mind the strange looks as he photographs the city's fire hydrants -- as long as the gawkers don't get in the shot.