Graffiti is largely socially maligned by many people as being gaudy, or simply vandalism under the guise of art. Nothing could be further from the truth when considering the beauty of street art, or responsible graffiti.
Responsible Graffiti Far From Vandalism, Can Inspire Social Thought
While many examples of urban graffiti are simply tags that are used to represent a certain graffiti artists hallmark, many other examples exist of truly beautiful graffiti artwork.
Graffiti is an excellent photographic resource for photographers in that it does not bear formal copyright, meaning that it can be used in post-production for a variety of purposes – ranging from creating a poster for a local indy rock or metal show to inclusion in a portfolio showing the more populist, underground side of the city in artistic fashion.
Graffiti is also unique to many other forms of art in that it almost always is used to convey a theme or message alongside of it’s purely aesthetic value. Messages of “No More Prisons”, “Feed the Poor”, “Legalize It”, “An End to Racism”, and other populist slogans are very common amongst street taggers and artists wishing to make a public statement through artwork.
Such themes and slogans are perfect for the photographer, particularly in an artistic sense, because these captured images can be manipulated or complimented via Photoshop or even with an accompany poem – a form of found poetry, for example – that uses the photographed graffiti as a source material.
Use Photographed Graffiti as Material for a Collage
Collage work is one of the most interesting tasks for any photographer, a blend of original exposures melded together, each shot contributing to a greater theme. Graffiti is especially rewarding – and yet challenging – material for a collage due to its largely organic, asymmetrical nature. Most grafitti is not angular and rigid, but rather flowing and somewhat amorphous – larger than life and more vibrant.
Graffiti collages make excellent band or event posters, industrial and architectural themed artwork, political and activist literature, as well as simply great exposures for modern, urban artwork that not only reflects your own twist on the original artwork but also a compositional touch that allows the photographer to play with colour, arrangement, depth of field, and general theme.
By taking a stroll about town and enjoying some of the beauty of citizen made street art (and, unfortunately, encountering some graffiti that might honestly be classified as talentless, derivative vandalism) one can enjoy a philosophical and aesthetic challenge that is free exercise both for the body and the mind.