Is there anyone I’m not ripping off here? (It seems to be running in the family lately – some sort of intellectual copyright virus). In the course of my research I looked up some of the locations in Joel Sternfeld’s On This Site on Google Street View (others I have visited in person) and was struck, as Jon Rafman and Michael Wolf must have been, with both what I saw and with the google-eye’s interpretation of them.
This first screen grab is of the former Bryant Grocery in Money, MS, where in 1955 Emmett Till allegedly flirted with a white woman; he was subsequently murdered. In Sternfeld’s 1994 photograph the store is run-down and abandoned; now it looks as if it is on its last legs – and how about that sun (well, maybe it’s a little harsh…)
And this one is where, in Sternfeld’s photograph, a little boarded-up house stood in Niagara Falls, NY. As Sternfeld’s text states: “In the late 1970s, an unusually high number of birth defects, miscarriages, cancers, and other illnesses were reported in the Love Canal neighborhood by the Niagara Falls Gazette. Lois Gibbs, whose two children developed rare blood disorders, led a successful grassroots campaign to have the state of New York purchase the homes of five hundred families, enabling them to relocate.” The house is now gone (the Google pin marks the spot), as is the entire neighborhood, eerily, as seen in Google’s satellite view.