A New American Picture



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.

Are you curious to find out more about Doug Rickard and his work? We featured Doug Rickard in an interview in GUP#47, The Big Ten issue.