Jon Rafman uses Google’s street view camera to find his images. He searches through the countless shots of empty streets and landscapes for bizarre events that almost went unnoticed. They are so interesting, you see so many different things happening, some uplifting and funny, others quite concerning and uncomfortable.
“I might be the first person to ever gaze upon a scene that happened in the past. It’s almost like looking at a memory that nobody really had. Photographs are so connected to human memory, but these are photographs of no one’s memories.”
“People like prostitutes, people living on the street, they have much more of a chance to be captured by the camera. With the prostitutes, I don’t think it’s a licentious or erotic gaze. There’s something about the camera that gives respect to the subject being photographed, something about the fact that it is this robotic gaze restores this balance that I feel like would be exploitative if it were a human photographer taking the picture. Even more sentimental images, like a couple kissing, which I would think would be cheesy now, or clichéd — somehow the fact that it was captured by a robot spontaneously, by chance, restores a certain balance to the image.”
I think this is an interesting take on something that most people would find uncomfortable and morally wrong to photograph. But since its a robot, that has no preference of what its photographing it seems less intrusive, its there on the street for everyone to see so whats so bad about it being captured.