Adrien Blondel was born in France, where he grew up and studied cinematography. Soon after graduating, he moved to San Francisco, where he lived for seven years, working as a technician in the film industry. During that period he also started developing a photography practice, influenced by the cultural choc one experiences living abroad for a long period of time. He now lives and work in Paris.
21 century landscapes
Since the beginning of the twenty first century, the San Francisco bay area has seen its real estate prices increase drastically. The city attracts a very qualified and wealthy population, but the prohibitive prices of real estate in San Francisco has generated a rapid expanse of nearby towns. In the east bay, new neighborhoods have been popping up in lands priorly used for cattle, to respond to the recent influx of workers, and their desire to afford family size homes. These homes evoke simultaneously a sense of luxury by their size, and the traces of a rapid expansion in their standardization.
I first witnessed the developments of these new neighborhoods mainly from my car. These are no places where one randomly wander. When I started documenting them, I started relying on Google Earth to find places to photograph. This software, which is a mapping of the world based on satellite imagery, appeared in the early 2000’s, at the same time as these new housing developments in the East bay.
The history of these houses is accompanied by the history of a virtual double of the world. Every steps of their creation was documented, making these new landscapes a witness of the process of digitalizing the world.
It is now easy to find online images from the recent past. They allow us to instantly visualise the expanse of human establishment and its resulting impact on the landscape. These same images are also a testimony of the evolution of these mapping technologies, showing us the progress made in making this virtual double of the world more precise and realistic, going towards a bank of data that contains every single possible photographs, every angles at any given time.
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