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Bright Side

An Australian Artist Makes a Guidebook That’s So Depressing, It’s Hilarious

The best ideas often come to mind by accident. This is exactly what happened to Damien Rudd, an Australian artist, photographer, and creator of “Sad Topographies”, an Instagram account where he collects Google Map screenshots of the world’s most depressing sounding places.

We at Bright Side would like to present to you some of the most unusual, hilariously sad names of places in the world collected by Damien.

Damien started this project in 2015 when came across Mount Hopeless on the map. “I was searching for something on Google Maps and I found Mount Hopeless in Australia. I typed hopeless into Google Maps to find other places called hopeless, then other synonyms for sadness. I screen captured the results and soon had the beginnings of a collection,he said in an interview. As he figured out later, there’s a story of a young man who attempted to find Australia’s inland sea and ended up on a hilltop that looked out over barren salt pans in every direction. That’s why the hill was named Mount Hopeless.

Damien covered all the continents to explore the world’s most depressing sounding names along with their etymology and the stories behind them.

Since Damien does his search in English, most of the places are from English-speaking countries, but some gems were also found in other countries like Mexico.








Answering the question about which names were his favorites, Damien said he finds the ones in Antarctica to be most interesting. “There is Shapeless Mountain which was named that because none of the exploring party could agree on its shape. Shapeless Mountain is so shapeless, that when a later expedition attempted to climb it, they scaled the wrong mountain entirely—which they then in turn named Mistake Mountain. There is also a Wrong Peak, which earned its name under similar circumstances. In 1963, Recoil Glacier was named by a geologist who was said to have ’recoiled in disgust’ at finding nothing of interest there. There is also Deception Island.”

After having an Instagram account for a couple years and gaining a huge amount of followers, Damien decided to publish a book with hand-drawn maps and the stories behind the places’ names. It’s considered to be one of the most unusual guidebooks around.

Which place from this collection would you like to visit? Tell us in the comments.

Preview photo credit sadtopographies / Instagram
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