Eye in the sky.
After discovering an unsecured surveillance camera in a town he’s never been to and does not identify, Andrew Hammerand spent a year observing strangers and screen-capping moments in their lives. The town – which he identifies only as somewhere in the US’s Midwestern states – is depicted in noisy captures, with digital artefacts and glitches often obscuring or distorting figures. While zooming in and out, the refresh rate of the feed caused interference in the resolution of the picture, Hammerand found, “causing scan lines, creating a temporary split-frame, merging two people into one, or even chopping heads off,” he told website In the In-Between. “The feed refreshes vertically from the top-down, so the past is being incrementally covered up by the present.
The Chicago-born photographer accepts there are ethical obligations to ‘spying’ on a town without its residents knowledge, but has never observed anything that necessitated intervention. As for his subjects’ privacy, faces are not intentionally obscured, but unrecognisable due to a lack of clarity in the screen resolution. He doesn’t show license plates or street signs.
“There’s something transfixing and attractive about viewing utilitarian photographs out of their original context,” Hammerand told In the In-Between. “There is also a generation of artists dealing with our current internet-specific culture, which is super fascinating to me.”
The New Town is showing at the Open Society Foundation in New York until September. For more information about the photographer, visit his website: andrewhammerand.com