Hacking and surveillance are acts usually associated with shady government bodies and nefarious computer geeks. But they can also be acts of creation, as U.S. photographer Marcus DeSieno proves with his series ‘Surveillance Landscapes’.
After learning how to hack into protected computer systems, DeSieno scoured the databases of CCTV and surveillance cameras for images, and in some cases even manipulated their lenses to take new photos. But he wasn’t looking for a person of interest, as the cameras were designed. Rather, he pointed the cameras at empty landscapes, as Ansel Adams might a forest.
The series is full of grainy, black and white reproductions of these found images; dark snapshots of unnamed parts of the world that lack definable features. It’s an eerie series that DeSieno says “interrogates how surveillance technology has changed our relationship to – and understanding of – landscape and place”.
Analysis aside, they’re haunting and oddly captivating images, and a far cry from the picturesque aesthetics of most landscape photos.