Jon Rafman, a Montreal-based artist, started 9-eyes.com in 2009 and since then he’s been adding candid snapshots of everyday life on the roads to his Google Street View collection.
Nine Eyes, a reference to the nine camera lenses mounted on Google Street View van, shows that Google has been capturing more than just street views for the past several years. Google Street View presents a universe observed by the detached gaze of an indifferent Being, in Rafman’s words.
Within the panoramas, I can locate images of gritty urban life reminiscent of hard-boiled American street photography. Or, if I prefer, I can find images of rural Americana that recall photography commissioned by the Farm Securities Administration during the depression. I can seek out postcard-perfect shots that capture what Cartier-Bresson titled “the decisive moment,” as if I were a photojournalist responding instantaneously to an emerging event. At other times, I have been mesmerized by the sense of nostalgia, yearning, and loss in these images—qualities that evoke old family snapshots… more