Jon Rafman – Street View Photographer

Being a student comes to its disadvantage of being able to afford to travel to different areas of the world, in a short about of time. In my lecture today I discovered many photographers that used google maps and earth as their way of photographing different parts of the world.

Photographer, Jon Rafman is one of a new breed of street photographers sourcing images from Google Street View to create a fascinating series of work. Rafman has suggested that it might be the ultimate conclusion of the medium: “it’s almost as if the camera is this modern God that sees everything, but doesn’t make any moral judgements.”

Rua Pereira da Costa, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil 2010

It was an obsessive search for a Google Street View picture of a recent girlfriend that first sent Rafman trawling through the images. Realising he had no photos of her, and remembering a holiday in Italy where he was watching her from the first floor balcony and saw a Google car drive by, he spent weeks looking for an image of her. It became, he says, “one of my iconic images”

8-Rue-Valette-Pompertuzat-006 139-Rua-Indiapor-Campinas-018 Blaru-France-2011-002 Paris street view

paris street view

Google Street View is an interesting medium to use when photographing how the earth is. In our lecture we looked at if photographers such as Jon Rafman uses google as an easy way of creating a body of work. Some pupils in my class saw his way of working as ‘lazy’ as anyone can do it. But in my view I disagree. I believe that Jon Rafman takes hours to find the perfect picture. Yes, it is true to say that anyone can do this, anyone can go online to google and take a print screen of a street on google maps and create it as their own body of work. This is where we find the difference between amateur and professional. I want to use this way of work into my current project. I believe this is a perfect way of finding secondary research.