The GSV series is made of more than hundreds of photographs collected from Google Street View. These images are not simple street photos; they hide within them, not only the objects –people in the streets- but also the shadow of the Google Street View camera installed on top of a vehicle. So here, the photographer and the photographed actually co-exist in the same shot. Although some of the individuals subjected to the Google Street View camera are conscious of the situation, they cannot help it. This, then, brings us to a new question, the monopoly that Google holds. Visually intriguing, these images also hide this tiny, hard-to-discern Google trademark; pointing to the authorlessness and anonymity. By making these street photos black and white, Şehitoğlu also erases all clues about time and space. This series, ehere serendipity plays a big part, bear exciting results because of the unpredictability factor.

This series draw inspiration from new tools we use today are thought-provoking. Essentially, these series collected via internet simultaneously question the traditional photographic device and the essence and the ontology of the photography. Does the art of photography need a proper camera? Can webcam, computer cameras or even Google Street View camera function as the traditional camera obscura? Does the act of ‘capturing’ differ from ‘photographing’? Does this difference effect the narratives? While challenging the viewer with these questions and many more, these series also stands as an inquiry into the notion of permission and intimacy.

Concerned with both theoretical and technical aspects of photography, the artist is in quest of innovative and explorative usage of camera and editing. He uses different ideas through these connected series; and by doing so, he represents an intriguing aspect of today’s photography. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Nilufer Sasmazer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Editor & Curator

“Google Street View” is a contemplation attempt on Google Street View, an application that allows one to travel across streets and countryside around the world. Here, Sergen Şehitoğlu reveals the megalomania of search engines. For this application, Google has created a car with cameras mounted on its roof to travel the world. Like a patrol car, Google Car randomly scans its surroundings in order to complete its database as well as to document living moments. Collecting images from this application, Sergen Şehitoğlu attempts to make this image-producing machine more visible through its shadow. As almost an evidence of the shift from society of discipline to society of control, the links between photography and control are reinforced on our screens. Exposing this new cartography which creates geopolitics of bodies and gazes in the age of networks and new technologies, Sergen Şehitoğlu demonstrates the power play on lands and images, underlining the mutations of our environment which is undergoing a constant transformation through new information and communication technologies.

Marianne Derrien

Independent curator and art critic