A Photographer’s Enchanting World, Seen through Google Street View
December 16, 2011
Against a wall-of-sound of harmoniums, tablas, flutes, sitars, and pakvajs, George Harrison once sang, “Without going out of my door, I can know all things on earth”–a proposition that, while tinged with ideological hyperbole, has never seemed more true. While the metaphysical yearning and the introspective life Harrison preaches about on “The Inner Light“–pinching lyrics from an ancient Chinese sacred text–now seem altogether impossible, given the digitalization and politicization of our bodies and private space, virtual travel across geographical boundaries is now an entirely attainable, if not somewhat mundane exercise. Not the case with the work of photographer Aaron Hobson, who stitches together landscapes furnished by Google Earth, extracted from the forests of France and the plains of South Africa. Since he began the project, entitled “Cinescapes,” nearly four years ago, Hobson’s goal has been to produce a series of photographs “devoid of the main character (self-portrait) and an internal view.” Click for more.
Cinescapes initially took form after Gobson had spent several months using Google Street View to scout for possible movie locations in and around Los Angeles. Based in a small town in the Adirondacks, near the Canadian border, Bogson, who has a fear of flying, quickly became fascinated by the tool, often spending hours and even days moving throughout the countrysides and urbanscapes of Scandinavia, Brazil, or Romania. As he told ABC News, “As boring and tedious as it is, just drag that little guy from town to town–continuing North or South for hours and hours.” Eventually, Bogson would chance upon interesting shots and angles and piece them together into an entirely unique composition. After three months of doing this, he had collected just twenty locations that he would use to create his landscapes.
Morrone del Sannio, Italy
Saska, Czech Republic
Aside from a few “post-production” techniques, such as the “dodge” and “burn” tools in Photoshop that help to seamlessly merge the photos together, Bogson puts all of his confidence in the “automated and aesthetically-neutered street view cars.” Although he leaves the Google imagery relatively intact, these modifications, which also include recoloring or enhancing hues of particular shots, are enough to ensure his authorial intent, while simultaneously marginalizing the artistic distance he’s so clearly after. Regardless, the photographs are enchanting, both as aesthetic products and theoretical investigations. ”Arrive without traveling.”
Sao Joao del Rei, Brazil
Posada de Valdeón, Spain
Route 17, South Africa