Have you seen these? Awesome snaps from the worldwide Google Maps cameras, collected by artist Jon Rafman. Some are obviously people hamming for the camera, but many offer a candid glimpse into life around the world. Fascinating.
Some of the images are beautiful, or funny. Others are heartbreaking. As Rafman says, "Although the Google search engine may be seen as benevolent, Google Street Views present a universe observed by the detached gaze of an indifferent Being. Its cameras witness but do not act in history. For all Google cares, the world could be absent of moral dimension."
Rafman identifies the many lenses through which we can view these shots - gorgeous panorama, human interaction with the Web, candid moments. Another application is a rarely seen view of those living on the perimeter of society. He says, "In theory, we are all equally subject to being photographed, but the Street View collections often reveal it is the poor and the marginalized who fall within the purview of the Google camera gaze."
Thoughts? I can't stop thinking about what happened to the baby crawling by the Gucci store...
* all image from here.