An impending lockdown? Self-isolation. Social distancing. Quarantine?? Still not really sure what to call it or how this whole COVID-19 thing is going to pan out in the UK but it’s clearly a thing and is increasingly concerning. Pretty sure the week just gone is the last one I’ll spend in the office… we’ve been sorting out what’s needed to work from home for a potentially extended period of time, and I’m grateful that’s even an option for me, doing the work that I do.
Clearly, there are plenty of people who aren’t in a position to be able to do that, and they’re entering some really uncertain times – not to mention those people who are even less able to prepare for getting through the next few months. Consider this your prompt to donate where you can.
📷 Nine Eyes of Google Street View by Jon Rafman.
Described as “travel photography for the age of self-isolation”, this is a tumblr of stills taken from street view which are pleasing to the eye in one way or another. As a long time fan of this particular service from Google, someone who takes photos, and as we enter a long period of not being able to get out of the house, this ticks a lot of boxes for me.
I do wish that more info was available for each one, as I’d love some context – any sort of context, even the co-ordinates would do – but then I suppose that the lack of detail does add to their allure. There’s some weird shit going on out there.
There are of course, other collections like this, of people capturing scenes from streetview. There are some good examples of places you might want to head to in that original twitter thread ☝️. Another particularly good one is A New American Picture by Doug Rickard. It brings up some good questions about the role of a 'photographer’ and whether this can really be considered as photography or not. Is the streetview car effectively 'just a camera’ in this instance, with the 'photo’ only being taken when someone takes a screenshot(?) It’s a grey area for sure.
Over a four-year period, Rickard took advantage of Google’s massive image archive to virtually explore the roads of America looking for forgotten, economically devastated, and largely abandoned places. After locating and composing scenes of urban and rural decay, Rickard re-photographed the images on his computer screen with a tripod- mounted camera, freeing the image from its technological origins and re-presenting them on a new documentary plane.
A whole bunch of things about coronavirus, because it feels completely unavoidable. That said, I don’t want to make a habit of binging on pandemic related media; I’m already trying to make sure I maintain a decent line there in terms of what I need to know and what just feeds into my anxiety. These few podcasts have been useful in terms of being informative / interesting while I’m still getting to grips with what this all means, but do take them as part of a varied diet.
- BBC Coronavirus podcast (various episodes, on a daily basis)
- Mom & Dad Are Fighting: The Quarantine’s a-Comin’ Edition
- The Moral Maze episode on, you guessed it, coronavirus
The second one there was particularly helpful with regards to how I’m thinking about approaching home-schooling if/when my kids can no longer go about their usual daily routines. Tbh, I’m more concerned about that side of things than I am being able to wfh, because it’s not something I feel like I have any real understanding of. The bottom line seems to be: do what you can, and be compassionate (with your kids, and with yourself). It’s going to be tricky for everyone. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming…