See the World in a New (Depressing) Way With 'Sad Topographies'

Caitlin Schneider
@sadtopographies Instagram
@sadtopographies Instagram / @sadtopographies Instagram

The journey started at Mount Hopeless, and only got more dire from there. After artist Damien Rudd came across the name of that South Australian landform, his curiosity was piqued. He wondered if there were any other places with depressing identifiers, and his hunt turned up a wellspring of inconsolable physical features.

The resulting project is an Instagram account called @sadtopographies, which collects snapshots from Google Maps of places like Failure Canyon in Utah and Lake Torment in Canada. Some of the entries are melancholy, some are macabre, and others are strange to the point of hilarity. With only 90 posts, the account has garnered a whopping 51k followers (and counting). It seems the #sadtopographies audience was just waiting to be tapped.

Most of the posts have straightforward captions with location and keywords hashtagged (a la #lonely) while others are a bit more explanatory, like the one for Mamungkukumpurangkuntjunya Hill in South Australia: “The name means ‘where the devil urinates’ in the regional Pitjantjatjara language.”

It’s a good reminder that when doom and gloom seem to follow you around, it might be because you’re literally never very far from pools of Tragedy, islands of Despair, and Lonesome Roads.