With some regularity, Google Street View art comes through my internet. As far as Street View and photography are concerned, I don’t think there’s any real use in discussing seriously whether Street View work “is” photography or “isn’t” photography. Photography is a pretty wide medium (as Friedlander once said), so there is no point in trying to nail this down right now; after ten years or so we’ll be able to observe how much (or little) this kind of imagery and photography have converged.
But for the sake of argument, let’s look at Doug Rickard’s new book as photography. Much like Peter Funch’s boring work of last year, all I take away from this work is that it’s the result of a time-intensive technical process. I imagine long hours spent in front of the computer, combing through Street View images to filter them based on their coincidence with the photographer’s own aesthetic sensibility. There is nothing “wrong” with this (could be nothing wrong with it!), but like Funch’s images it just strikes me as phenomenally boring – what could Rickard really have learned from this procedure? And what is the audience supposed to take away from it? He knew basically what he wanted from the start, and got it. As it is, I already spend enough time in front of the computer; I’m not interested in the distillation of someone else’s computer time in photobook form.