Monday, July 11, 2011

Fun With Google Image Search

Or, How I Became a Minor Visual Cliché.

( My apologies in advance for the length of this post)
   It is an odd and slightly jarring experience to unexpectedly encounter a photo of one's self on the internet. Some time ago, I stumbled upon a picture of myself on this page on the site for Velux Skylights:

Not easily recognizable, but I know the photo well.
  In 1993, Caris and I were doing lots of volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity of Orange County. Caris wanted a photo to use for brochures, etc., and had a photographer willing to donate his services. She wanted something to show partnership or cooperation in a construction setting, but we did not have any projects under construction at the time. I knew of a condo project not too far from my office which was still in framing, so one evening after work, my friend Rick and I climbed up onto the roof framing as the sun was setting. This was one of the resulting shots:

That's me, on the left; Rick is on the right. We're cooperating, or something.
   The photographer donated Habitat the use of the photo in exchange for rights to publish it as stock photography. Habitat got some good mileage out of it and used it for lots of things locally, but after some time, I began to come across it sporadically on the internet: AOL used it a couple of times on their splash screen; other Habitat affiliates would occasionally use it; and then there was the Velux site, so I knew the picture was being picked up.

   This is another photo from the same shoot, which appears less frequently:

I actually appear to be doing something useful in this shot.

   Which brings us to Google.

    I am not directly google-able, and if one were to search for my name with Google Image Search, this is the first thing one would find:

From: David Austin Roses

    And some guy who apparently drives this:

From  Pat Austin is the most successful drag racer born after the 1940s and the best driver of his generation. (Pat needs to lay off the barbecue and Budweiser, a bit.)
   But recently, Google added an interesting feature to Image Search: you can drag a photo from a web site or anywhere in your computer, and drop it onto the search input field, and Google will find the image on the internet, as well as showing images that are similar (try it yourself, it's a great way to waste time). I wanted to see if the image had traveled very far. Dropping the image onto Google Image Search yielded 445 results. Not surprisingly, there were the other Habitat Affiliates, including Los Angeles and Costa Rica. There are also lots of small construction and roofing companies:

Austin, TX
Sedalia, MO
Boston, MA
Charlotte, NC
North Dakota
   Apparently, this is an image suitable for construction situations, but also is sufficiently vague and slightly iconic enough to use in situations to imply a kind-of feel-good partnership or cooperation or team-building or something, and appears those contexts is a wide range of places:

I'm not too sure just what this guy is selling.
    And so the photo of me has begun traveling the world, much like the garden gnome in Amelie, appearing in strange settings, with these websites serving as postcards. Here are some of the places in which I have been spotted:
United Kingdom
Poland (my relatives would be proud)
Apparently Lithuania
    Etc.,etc., etc...  Obviously the go-to photo if you want to imply aspirational qualities like cooperation, building together, bright futures, wide vistas, vague rosy possibilities, hammers, reaching, climbing, or fake-looking construction.

    Unfortunately I do not receive any residuals (not that they would amount to much), as I signed away all rights at the time, but it is amusing and slightly satisfying to spot the photo occasionally in unexpected places.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Custom House in Chino Hills

Continued development of the elevations previously posted under "Recent Work"; this is a custom house, approximately 5200 square feet in size.

Colored front elevation by Steve Royse.

The Lot is located in an area of rolling wooded hills dotted with live oaks, with views down a small valley. The site is a bit difficult because it slopes pretty steeply southward, and extensive grading will be necessary to create a large enough flat pad for a single-story house. (There will be lots of grading photos in the future).

                                              South                                                             SW                                                            West                                    This is a panoramic view from the center of the site. The main rooms will face nearly due South, which provides the best views The master suite will have South and West views.

All four elevations. The front of the house faces North, the rear faces South.