21/02/2012 07:28 GMT | Updated 22/04/2012 06:12 BST

Stolen Moments: Google Street View Art Project

A man sits by a roadside crying next to a smashed up car.

A dirty pony noses through a pile of rubbish.

Two men sit apart on a door step, clutching their faces in anguish.

Someone dressed as a superhero takes a nap on a public bench.

If it all sounds too odd to be made up, that's because it isn't.

These four images and hundreds of others form a new photo project by artist Jon Rafman, created by trawling through the snap shots captured on Google Street View.

The Nine Eyes - so named after the lenses mounted on a Google Street View car - is a collection of stolen moments from around the globe that range from the quietly beautiful to the frankly bizarre.


In some, individuals or groups have spotted the passing camera and wave a hand - or finger - in acknowledgement.

In others, private moments are frozen in time as couples argue or embrace, or solitary figures weep over people or problems we'll never discover.

There is also, of course, a fair share of comedy - note the portly 'Uncle Sam' figure walking down the street, the mansion covered almost entirely in toilet roll or - our favourite - a boarded up building bearing the hand painted sign 'Rod Stewart Fan Club'.

If Google's attempts to map the world strike some as invasive or power hungry, this project offers an interesting - if accidental - counterpoint.

As individual photographs they capture private emotions or memories. As a whole, they seem to encompass all facets of human interaction and experience. The result is a project that feels far more humane than anything we'd normally associate with Google's relentless quest to categorize and document the world.

We've put our favourite The Nine Eyes images into a gallery below, but check out Jon Rafman's official website for more information and images.