Photographing Street Art
Street art has grown in popularity and is slowly becoming a recognized and accepted form of expression. Granted, some street rat is misused when it defaces private property, but for the most part there seems to be a trend by local street artist and graffiti artist to showcase their work on more visible venues and to do it with the property owners permission.
There is also a growing number of photographers who specialize in recording street art and graffiti through photographs. Most graffiti lends itself quite well to being photographed due to the colorful tones which are common in this style of art.
The images may not be completely recognizable by many, but most often they have a meaning; sorts of a message which he author is trying to promulgate, sometimes direct others not so.
When recording these works, it is a good technique to frame the image to exclude any other elements; the focus should be on just the art with nothing else including the "canvas". Close ups of particular motifs should also be included in some of the images.
Unlike most art works, one does not need to obtain permission to photograph these works since most always they are visible from the street; thus street art.
However, it is worth to relate to the artist, especially if you want to follow his or her work and make this a specialty. Most will gladly embrace your work since recognition is one of the main things that these usually young artist crave the most.
Some scenes may also include parts of the "canvas" as well as the surrounding area, but keep in mind to only do so if the outside elements add to the entire scene rather than distract from it; A good example would be a photo of a graffiti work and parts of a wall on which they are painted if the wall does not have any other signs, colors, or distractions.
If the general scene where the art is painted upon is surrounded by congested scenes, colorful window displays, busy restaurants and so on, it would be better to exclude them.
Work with the artist and ensure that his or her "tag" is also included in the final images, it is also a good idea to provide them with some photographic samples of their work.
Other street art sample are sidewalk art, where he artist sues water soluble paint ,but mostly chalk. These artist usually do so not only to showcase their work but to make some extra cash too. Local authorities are glowingly allowing this form of expression, especially at tourist city areas.
In my hometown South Beach and Coconut Grove are two such locations, and there is never a lack of interest as you can always find these artist due to the growing crowds that they attract. Recently there has also been a growing number of art festivals dedicated exclusively to street art and many talented artists have begun to gain national and even international recognition for their talent.
Another popular form of street art, but one which I have lately seem in decline, is painting with spray canisters. These artist use regular store bought spray paint,a variety of common tools such as plastic cups, lids, sticks, rocks and a host of everyday items to create very richly decorated and detailed pieces of art. Their canvas is mostly a flat square piece of aluminum, and their work reflects this by its shine.
Most of the subjects associated with this type of street art, at least on my hometown, centers around celestial bodies, and I have always been fascinated by their accuracy. Most sell for around $10 to $15 dollars but some artists will gladly accept any donation.
It is worth noting the speed and precision with which these artist create their work, with 15 minutes from beginning to completion for most pieces. Their techniques are as much a piece of art as the work itself.
Although as previously mentioned one does not usually require permission to photograph this type of work, it would seem fair that if one where to profit from the taking of these photographs that the original artist should receive a compensation.
I have always made it a point to share any profit derived from my photographs of their work.
Keep in mind that because they are producing their work on a public venue, usually without authorization; thus waiving their right to the work, can be seen by anyone and often you will see the artist but once, so reaching them afterward may not be an easy task.
Give these artist a business card just in case they want to let you know about any upcoming work and to create a two way communication link as well as for networking since this is a closely nit community and are always aware of each others work and planned activities.
- Miami Street Art
I went to the opening of Ahol Sniffs Glue's solo art show at Gregg Shienbaum Fine Art. Smooth beats from Metro Zu, and awesome ...
© 2011 Luis E Gonzalez
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