Photo: Agoraphobic Traveller

Meet the Agoraphobic Photographer Who Found a New Way to See the World

Photo + Video + Film
by Henry Miller Nov 7, 2017

Turning your fears into a strength that positively transforms your life is something we all aspire to do. In the case of Jacqui Kenny, the biggest challenge in her life became the fuel for one of the most unique photography exhibits out there.

Jacqui Kenny is a New Zealander living in London who suffers from agoraphobia. When Kennedy was in her mid-20s, she began to get severe anxiety attacks — bad enough that she had to visit the ER. After being told that the cause was agoraphobia, Kenny began to withdraw from the world. She lost her job and traveling for her sister’s wedding required months of therapy. Depression was a daily ordeal.

Sometime last year, Kenny began exploring a world that seemed closed off to her via Google Street View. As someone who had always loved photography, she started to take screenshots of the images that appealed to her. A lonely cactus in the Arizona desert; camels crossing a road in UAE; an empty playground by a beach in Peru: these were subjects she might never get the chance to photograph without Street View. Kenny developed a taste for moments when the environment interacts with the Google car, such as waving pedestrians or dogs giving chase, but her most common themes are vast landscapes, lonely structures, and cacti. She says she has taken over 27 thousand screenshots since she started.

After gaining thousands of fans on Instagram, Kenny was picked up by The New Yorker magazine and her following grew to over 80 thousand. In light of her success, Kenny took her first substantial trip in years for a gallery showing of her photography in New York City.

1. Ysyk Kol Province, Kyrgyzstan

2. Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

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3. Sun City, Arizona

4. Arica y Parinacota Region, Chile

5. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

6. Arequipa, Peru

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7. Juarez, Mexico

8. State of Ceara, Brazil

9. Ajo, Arizona

10. Atacama Region, Chile

Watch a video about Kennedy’s experience

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