Street art, or graffiti as some call it can be very interesting and brighten up a dull concrete wall any day. In the wrong place it can be a nuisance, but in general, independent public art, as I like to call it, is a great way to add some colour and life to the manufactured world around us.
As a photographer I always struggle with sharing my street art photos as “my art” on social media and photo sharing groups. I hope that the artists would want people to enjoy their art and maybe even photograph it to remember a place, a statement or to just share it with friends. But as a professional photographer can I really call it my art?
Now I struggle with this even when it comes to landscape or nature photography. I didn’t make that beautiful view, or put those amazing flowers in that meadow, so just because I point my camera at it, can I call it my art?
Now before I have photographers banging down my door, I completely realize that there is more to it then that, otherwise I would have stopped taking photos long ago. It is all about the composition, angles, colour, adding, subtracting, understanding light and so on. But when photographing street art I feel the need to try and represent the original art as much as possible, as if you were standing in front of it yourself. Perhaps there is a sense that because another human created the art, and not the natural world around us, I need to respect their vision as well as my own. When you see art in a large surroundings it can be tricky to capture the art as well as the feeling that is buzzing around it.
In the end I enjoy taking photos of street art, I’m drawn to the colours, the stories being told and I admire the artists and their work. As photography is my art style, all I can do is capture the world around me and share my photos with the intent of just adding some more funky style and colour to the world.
Click on any photo to open an image slideshow.
written by Michelle Lee 2019