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A Photographer Sees Tiny Planets in San Francisco's Rusty Fire Hydrants

A Photographer Sees Tiny Planets in San Francisco's Rusty Fire Hydrants
Adam Kennedy

Some people see Jesus in their French toast, and some see Africa in watch machinery. Adam Kennedy, a student at San Francisco State University, sees planets in the city's 19th-century fire hydrants.

"It just revealed itself to me," he says of one of San Francisco's unusual ball-topped hydrants. "It mimicked the shape of a planet."

With the aid of Photoshop, Kennedy has since helped dozens of rust patterns evolve into frozen tundra or lush, Earth-like paradises, outcomes he says are dictated by the worn-down infrastructure itself. "If I try to force my idea on it it doesn't work."

The photographs, which he collects on his website "Planet Universe," made a splash on Reddit last weekend. Now, Kennedy has launched a Indiegogo campaign. He wants to turn his planets into posters, t-shirts, and a coffee table book.

He's since come into contact with other found worlds, like Christopher Jonassen's frying pan planets, or similar projects that imagine geography in grease-stained pizza boxes or rust patterns.

It all began, Kennedy says, with a fascination with texture. "The growth of the moss on a brick spoke to me," he says. "The patterns kind of imitated how forests might grow on the surface of a rocky landscape."

He says he doesn't mind the strange looks as he photographs the city's fire hydrants -- as long as the gawkers don't get in the shot.

 

All images courtesy of Adam Kennedy, via Planet Universe.

HT Reddit.

Henry Grabar is a freelance writer and a former fellow at The Atlantic Cities. He lives in New York. All posts »

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