Lined with stores closed down long ago, sad-looking homes and deserted properties they are America’s ‘forgotten streets’.
But one artist is forcing people to take a closer look at the often ignored places hit with financial struggles over the years.
Using Google Street View, Doug Rickard was able to capture images from states all over the U.S including Michigan, California, Arkansas and New Jersey – without ever leaving his own home.
Depressing: An image from Doug Rickard’s A New American Picture collection shows four men walk along a street in New Orleans. The artist uses Google Street View to find images showing cities ravaged by financial strains
Tough times: A man pushes a shopping cart down a Memphis, Tennessee street
Using the internet tool, California-born Rickard roamed America’s streets for snapshots of run-down neighbourhoods.
The thought-provoking images paint a stark picture of the places stuggling to get by following the economic recession.
When Google Street View was launched in 2007, the search engine set out to capture every corner of the country.
It sent out cars – each with nine directional cameras mounted on its roof – to every street in the United States.
Snapshot: Many images for the Californian-born artist’s project are from Detroit, Michigan
Sorry state: Residents from Camden, New Jersey, linger outside a deserted discount store
Captured: Rickard’s collection of images was shown at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art earlier this year. This image of a crossroads littered with debris is taken from Detroit, Michigan
The cameras provided a 360 degree image of the surroundings from a height of around 8.2 feet.
Millions of streets were captured by the project, providing a snapshot of America’s neighbourhoods and residents going about their lives.
Rickard trawled through thousands of cities and back roads looking for images that show the bleakness of the country’s ‘forgotten’ places.
GOOGLE STREET VIEW
Google Street View was launched in 2007, aiming to provide panoramic views of every street in the country for internet users.
It sent out cars – each with nine directional cameras mounted on its roof – to streets across the United States.
The project has now expanded to nearly 40 other countries across the world.
The cameras provide a 360 degree image of the surroundings from a height of around 8.2 feet.
Faces are blurred to protect identities, however only some countries blur vehicle license plates.
Internet users can now submit their own images of not-yet photographed places.
He then re-photographed the images in his studio as they appear on the computer screen, giving some of the pictures the impression they have been painted.
The detached nature of the camera gives a feeling of alienation throughout the series of coloured photographs, entitled A New American Picture.
Many feature the haunting, blurring effect employed by Google to anonymise individuals’ faces.
The collection contains images from areas battered by recent crises including Detroit, Michigan and New Orleans, Louisiana.
The pictures show loan figures skulking past shabby buildings and through empty parking lots.
In others, people are pictured loitering outside closed-down shops in the middle of the day, while children play on grey, abandoned streets.
Broken: A wandering dog is captured looking at the passing cameras in Dallas, Texas
Passing time: Next to a beaten shack, a man watches the car from his wheelchair in Fresno, California
Laid bare: In Watts, Los Angeles, California, a man dodges the sun to hose down a pavement. The photographs will feature in an exhibition entitled Publicly Private at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art from January 14
Rickard describes the eerie images as having an ‘apocalyptic-like brokenness’.
It is a modern approach to the tradition of street photographers concerned with American life, such as Paul Graham and Walker Evans.
From a stash of around 15,000 shots, Rickard chose about 80 images for his A New American Picture collection.
Bleak: Three men cross a road in Detroit, Michigan. The artist uses Google Street View to find images showing cities ravaged by financial strains
Ghost town: A young boy cycles along an abandoned residential street in Atlanta, Georgia
Nowhere to go: An alley in Baltimore, Maryland. The artist recaptures the Google images on his own computer
In January a selection of the photographs featured in New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
They were also part of an exhibition entitled Publicly Private which also showcased New York subway scenes captured by photographer Enrico Natali in 1960.
The exhibition ran from January through to April 22 at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
Struggles: A man cycles along a Jersey City, New Jersey street lined with closed-down businesses. Google blurs out faces to remove the identities of those captured by its cameras, giving Rickard’s art an eerie quality
Emptiness: A man cycles in Wasco, California. Cars with cameras on their roofs capture the Google images