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Photographing Graffiti_Why?

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 50mm f1.2 L series USM lens

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 50mm f1.2 L series lens

What is the purpose of photographing graffiti? As man-made subject matter it’s more like photographing statues or architecture than the natural landscape. Is the idea to document someone else’s work, whether you consider it to be art or otherwise? If so, fine, make it a sharp accurate rendering.

But if you want to make art from art, then a different approach is required. Depict the graffiti in a way other than it appears. Try a close-up and concentrate on the design elements (line, shape, color, etc) within the larger scene; shoot from an extreme angle of view (side on, rather than straight-on; birds eye or worms eye); or photograph the graffiti in relation to its environment or in relation to a human element (child, tourist, artist, senior citizen, etc). There are so many possibilities to incorporate this kind of public art into your own art and build your own creativity in the process.

In the case of the above image I wanted to concentrate attention on the face in a way that highlighted its expressive nature. All colors in the above image were de-saturated, except for green. The area surrounding the centre of the frame was then darkened to place extra emphasis on the face. Adobe Lightroom 2 and Adobe Photoshop CS4 were utilized for processing and image enhancement.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography


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