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Bizarre roadside views from Google Street View (pictures)

Google Street View cameras roving the roads of the world capture unusual images, from people in masks to unlikely outhouses. Artist Jon Rafman collects some of the craziest around.

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Tim Hornyak
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1 of 15 courtesy Jon Rafman and Zach Feuer Gallery

Monkey business

Since launching in 2007, Google Street View cars have covered millions of miles of road in dozens of countries. Like an all-seeing eye, the nine-lens Street View camera system seems omniscient, spying everything from deceased relatives to the Large Hadron Collider. Montreal artist Jon Rafman spends hours trolling the petabytes of data gathered by Street View cameras to find interesting, odd, and sometimes puzzling snapshots as part of his series The Nine Eyes of Google Street View. Here's a sample of his selections.

The Jigokudani Monkey Park in Nagano Prefecture, Japan, is a 20-minute walk from the nearest road, but Google Street View visited the site for its famous Japanese macaques. The monkeys bathe in the outdoor hot springs and tolerate visitors getting up close. The snow monkeys, as they're known, are the northernmost non-human primate group in the world.

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2 of 15 courtesy Jon Rafman and Zach Feuer Gallery

Masked men

This snapshot from Nacozari De Garcia in northern Mexico is not something you'd probably want to see while driving anywhere.
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3 of 15 courtesy Jon Rafman and Zach Feuer Gallery

Whoa there

A horse isn't too eager to give way on this country road in the Outer Hebrides off Scotland.
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4 of 15 courtesy Jon Rafman and Zach Feuer Gallery

Shopping?

Children carry speakers past an old building in this Street View image from Kosice, the largest city in eastern Slovakia.
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5 of 15 courtesy Jon Rafman and Zach Feuer Gallery

Sea to sky

The sky is the same color as the sea at Ewa Beach on Oahu, Hawaii, and people seem to float in midair.
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6 of 15 courtesy Jon Rafman and Zach Feuer Gallery

Awa street dance

Japanese celebrate the summer Awa Odori street dance in Ryogoku Honcho, Tokushima City. Part of the Obon festival of the dead, Awa Odori is the largest dance event of its kind in Japan, attracting over 1 million tourists to the island of Shikoku. Similar dance-parades are held in Tokyo and other cities.
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7 of 15 courtesy Jon Rafman and Zach Feuer Gallery

Where there's smoke

Alarmed by smoke, people dash out of a house in this chance snapshot. The sign on the left indicates a realtor based in southern Ontario, Canada.
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8 of 15 courtesy Jon Rafman and Zach Feuer Gallery

Paved with good intentions

It's the end of the road at this sign, with a vast desert stretching beyond it.
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9 of 15 courtesy Jon Rafman and Zach Feuer Gallery

Thumbs down

The Google Street View produces a variety of reactions, but it doesn't seem so popular judging by the people in this image from Rennes in Brittany, France.
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10 of 15 courtesy Jon Rafman and Zach Feuer Gallery

ATV riders

ATV riders show off along Monzenmachi-dori street in Nagoya, Japan. Known for its Buddhist altar shops, the street leads to Osu Kannon temple, which was originally built in the 17th century.
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11 of 15 courtesy Jon Rafman and Zach Feuer Gallery

Colorado tiger

Why was there a tiger on the loose at 3081 Valmont Road in Boulder, Colorado? Well, there wasn't, really. Apparently the beast was fiberglass prop to attract potential shoppers. It's no longer in the current Street View image of the location.
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12 of 15 courtesy Jon Rafman and Zach Feuer Gallery

Northern lights

The sky glows green with electrical activity above this snowy road in Finnmark, northeastern Norway.
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13 of 15 courtesy Jon Rafman and Zach Feuer Gallery

Take five

It's break time for this worker dressed up like Ultraman at Fuji-Q Highland, an amusement park at the foothills of Mout Fuji in Japan's Yamanashi Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo.
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14 of 15 courtesy Jon Rafman and Zach Feuer Gallery

Rue des Poissoniers

No one seems to notice this white-clad person on the Rue des Poissoniers in Paris. Part of the 18th arrondissement neighborhood, the street has been known for its outdoor Muslim prayers.
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15 of 15 courtesy Jon Rafman and Zach Feuer Gallery

Gucci baby

A baby is all alone in this shopping area in Taipei, Taiwan.

While Google Street View cameras capture all without comment, "The human gaze sees meaning, sees poetry in the images, sees beauty, and is forced to take a moral stance when they see a person dying on the side of the road or a prostitute working on the streets in the outskirts of Madrid," says artist Jon Rafman.

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