Vantage Points


Found imagery has consistently reappeared throughout art history from the beginning of the 20th century. These appropriated images are often chopped, revised and re-interpreted, allowing them to be contemplated in new contexts.

Now with modern technology providing access to endless pools of imagery, people can use their personal computers to capture and collect images from a vast range of sources without ever having to leave the comfort of their desk. The last few years has seen the emergence of a new generation of photo-book centred around this technique. For this feature we have gathered a selection of the most powerful published examples that use online image sourcing. In some cases the end result is not an easy one, due to the themes of voyeurism and menace, yet these books all contain photographs that could be located by anyone with access to the internet.

By appropriating imagery, and in certain cases text also, the photographers welcome the debate of ownership and discussions of whether and to whom true artistic merit is due. In spite of this, all of the content is collected through meticulous effort and an obsessive guiding framework that allows them to call it their own. None of the photographers featured have been hindered by using online tools for photo gathering: their work demonstrates the possibility of using these modern image sources to create captivating work that competes on the same level as any other current photo journalism.


A New American Picture

A New American Picture (First Edition)

  • Doug Rickard
  • White Press, 2010
  • Hardcover - Edition of 250 hand made

This acclaimed book by Doug Rickard takes its inspiration partially from Walker Evans' American Photographs. Rickard explores the backroads of America through the convenience of his computer screen. By using Google street view to revisit places he had personally visited and other locations that simply intrigued him, Rickard spent two years virtually walking through the outskirts of cities - large barren areas with obvious signs of poverty. The photographs all share a muted palette with sections of vivid colour, and the strength of the compositions make it hard to believe it was all originally captured so inadvertently by a Google street car.


A New American Picture

A New American Picture (Second Edition)

  • Doug Rickard
  • Aperture/Koenig, 2012
  • Hardcover

This acclaimed book by Doug Rickard takes its inspiration partially from Walker Evans' American Photographs. Rickard explores the backroads of America through the convenience of his computer screen. By using Google street view to revisit places he had personally visited and other locations that simply intrigued him, Rickard spent two years virtually walking through the outskirts of cities - large barren areas with obvious signs of poverty. The photographs all share a muted palette with sections of vivid colour, and the strength of the compositions make it hard to believe it was all originally captured so inadvertently by a Google street car. Originally printed in a small edition of two hundred and fifty by White Press this book was republished this year by Aperture and Koenig in a larger edition and containing more images.


A Series of Unfortunate Events

A Series of Unfortunate Events

  • Michael Wolf
  • Pepperoni Books, 2011
  • Hardcover

Michael Wolf spent hundreds of hours in front of his computer exploring Google street view for the images within this book. Wolf virtually travelled to locations he had never visited in person in search of mishaps and unexpected circumstances. Once a desired view was found it was cropped and then photographed by mounting his camera in front of the computer screen. Wolf's method of photo-journalism is unarguably effective and clearly obsessive. The locations of the photographs span multiple countries and locations he has never visited himself. Some of the voyeuristic photographs amuse whilst others leave you with an uneasiness as you contemplate modern surveillance culture.


No Man's Land

No Man's Land

  • Mishka Henner
  • Self Published, 2011
  • Softcover

No Man's Land One and Two offer a detached view of women soliciting sex on various desolate roads around Europe. To begin this project, artist and photographer Mishka Henner scoured online forums to find information placed there by local men about the whereabouts of sex workers living on the margins of society. This information was then entered into the application Google street view and the results can be seen within these two books. The Google application blurs the faces of anyone it photographs and this, coupled with the voyeuristic techniques and taboo subject matter creates expressionless, ambiguous views of an underground culture that is hardly ever portrayed so impassively.


No Man's Land II

No Man's Land II

  • Mishka Henner
  • Self Published, 2011
  • Softcover

This is the follow up to Mishka Henner's acclaimed No Man's Land. For this he re-visits the theme of sex workers living on the margins of society. Henner scoured online forums to find information put on by local men of the whereabouts of women soliciting sex. This information was then entered into the application Google street view and the results can be seen within this book. The Google application blurs the faces of anyone it photographs and this, coupled with the voyeuristic techniques and sensitive topic creates expressionless, ambiguous views of an underground culture that is hardly ever portrayed so impassively.


Dutch Landscapes

Dutch Landscapes

  • Mishka Henner
  • Self Published, 2011
  • Softcover

In 2005 Google Earth was introduced, and for the first time satellite views of earth were now accessible to anyone with an internet connection. Shortly after it's initiation, governments grew tense about the information that could be accessed by practically anyone and so places of government significance were censored by blurring, pixelisation and whiting. Of all the countries, Holland was one of those to most vivaciously embrace censorship, with locations ranging from Palaces, fuel depots and military camps all altered. The Dutch technique for censorship is one of the most brash, using large multi-coloured polygons. These unusual images are placed within the book alongside unaltered arial views of the startling Dutch landscapes that have been adapted to defend against flooding. This book beautifully compares the two landscapes, imaginary and actual, which have both been altered for real and possible attack.


And Pray That Our Pain Be Champagne

And Pray That Our Pain Be Champagne

  • Peter Mann
  • SP Books, 2012
  • Softcover Edition of 120 Copies

The title for this book comes from the lyrics of Kanye West and fittingly explores branded luxury items when viewed away from the multi-million dollar advertising campaigns used to sell them. All images and text within the book were sourced from ebay by Peter Mann. The images range from empty bottles of Cristal to used Louis Vuitton padlocks and come accompanied by illogical descriptions put there by sellers. This tactful sourcing of material shows the products in a light tinged with tragedy, as the items are not coupled with the skilful words of a copy writer nor shot by top photographers. In the current economic climate this book offers a poignant view of modern online consumer society.


LA Women

LA Women

  • Joachim Schmid
  • Self Published, 2011
  • Hardcover

For this project Joachim Schmid reused existing imagery found at the house of a convicted serial murderer. In December of 2010, the Los Angles Police department appealed for help by releasing one hundred and eight pictures belonging to the infamous “Grimm Sleeper”. In many cases the photos are imperfect and poor quality, and it is unknown whether the women in the photographs were victims or even photographed by the murderer himself. The women are seen in a variety of states sometimes smiling and in some cases passed out. This dark book offers no actual information on the fate of the women, as you sift though the pages you look for clues but instead are left to ponder the fate of the women and the gravity of images that we encounter frequently online.