American Photographer Doug Rickard (1968) took advantage of Google Street View’s massive image archive to virtually explore the roads of America over a four-year period. With his photo series A New American Picture, Rickard searched for forgotten, economically devastated, and largely abandoned places. After locating and composing scenes of urban decay, Rickard re-photographed the images on his computer screen, freeing the image from its technological origins and re-presenting them in a new documentary way.
The low-resolution images have a dissolved, painterly effect. The photographs are populated with figures who sometimes turn to acknowledge the roving car-camera, but whose faces are blurred by Google’s anonymising software, masking their identity. Rickard’s work creates a connection to the American street photography and combines this with documentary images. His work acknowledges an increasingly technological world; a world in which a camera mounted on a moving car can generate evidence of people and places. Collectively, these images present a portrait of the socially disenfranchised and economically powerless which are living an inversion of the American Dream.