Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Google Street View : Ed Ruscha Revisited

Thinking about Top Street Views on the trip home I suddenly remembered how old an idea this actually is. In 1966 the American artist Ed Ruscha created a fold out book showing "Every Building On Sunset Strip". The technique was an automated camera attached to the side of a car. By driving down the street at a fixed speed he was able to photograph every building. Sound familiar.

Every building wasn't Ruscha's only photographic book. Similarly prescient was 1967's "Thirtyfour Parking Lots" photographed from a helicopter. Inspired by this book and the easy access of Google maps the blogger at AMP decided to create a Flickr set of parking lots.

Ruscha eventually went back to his painting. But it may turnout that his most durable contribution was his trail blazing photography.


noisycity said...

I added here the best Street View.

J said...

A Great selection of Street View Links:


michael said...

I was thinking something similar a while back and wondered if any clever photoshoppers with a lot of patience would recreate Ruscha's piece using streetview.. Come to think of it, perhaps one could find the parking lots too.

geekglue said...


thanks for the comment and drawing attention to your post. Looking at the image you've posted it actually reminded me of another American photographer : Harry Callahan. Callahan's late color work featured multiple exposures of the city that created exactly the sort of odd perspectives and disjointed connections that are being discovered in StreetView. Tried to find some photos to point to with no luck. Perhaps you have access to it through a library. I believe the book to look for is "New Color".

michael said...

Thanks for the tip! I found some of his work online, but not from the book you mention which I'll have to look for.. these new relationships between Google and great artists are really strange. I remember being slightly disappointed learning that Robert Smithson's spiral jetty was right there on Google maps when it used to be 'lost'.

geekglue said...

I hadn't thought about the implications for Maps and Land Art. Wow! I really must go and do some research into this. We've certainly some commercial entities making use of maps to create "land art" for commercial reasons (i.e KFC's giant logo in the desert and the Firefox logo cut into a field). I wonder if this doesn't offer an opportunity for artists to reconsider the potential of land art. Although their motivations would be quite the opposite of Robert Smithson. Thanks for mentioning this connection.