Graffiti, Street Art, and Wall Writings

I like graffiti from an artistic standpoint.  I don't argue that it doesn't belong everywhere and that it costs money to clean up, but the fact that you find it in places where it doesn't belong just adds to the statement it makes.  Many of the graffiti artists are very good at what they do, and I'm sure they all have different reasons for doing it.  There are different types of graffiti, from colorful to graphic to branding to writings, and many more.  And if you look hard enough, you might just find some appealing and artistic aspects in something that is typically termed “trashy” or “destructive”.

I don't suggest that you go out and make your own graffiti to express yourself, but there are ways for us photographers to capture the art with the tools we have at hand.  I've taken several graffiti shots, and I found that I enjoy editing them to bring out the colors and capture the mood created by the graffiti.  Because of that, I've decided to start a graffiti theme in my photo collection.  This just means that I'll be actively and passively seeking opportunities to photograph graffiti.  I plan on getting into New York to do a little exploring now that the weather is warming up a bit.

In Dork Magazine yesterday (yes — Dork Magazine), James wrote about a book called “Public Wall Writing in Philadelphia”.  It's a book about Philly graffiti from the 60's to the 80's.  Looks pretty interesting, and it seems to have a lot of good photos in it.  It turns out that there are plenty of other books out there on graffiti and street art.  If you're looking to pick up a little inspiration for your photography, you might look into picking up a book on graffiti. I just ordered “Burning New York” to help me get some ideas for my theme — plus I live near New York and I'm hoping I can pick up on some good locations.  There were a few others that I was pondering, and I almost (really really almost) went with “Graffiti World” instead.

Burning New York covers the latest work of artists from the graffiti capitol of the world.

Graffiti World includes the street art and graffiti from various artists and styles all over the world.

Wall and Piece just includes the work from the artist, Bansky.  He's not a typical graffiti artist, but he seems to be more about making provocative statements with his artwork.  I've seen some news pieces on this guy, and what he does is very interesting.

Subway Art is a bit retro, covering NYC graffiti from the 70's and 80's.