Thursday, October 6, 2016

Door With Graffiti - New York

Making The Best Of A Bad Situation

Graffiti has made a rampant comeback in New York over the past few years. Bare wall space attracts the attention of aggressive taggers. Even pristine brick buildings get tagged; it's almost impossible to remove paint from brick.

Graffiti tagging doesn't cause bodily harm, but it's more than a petty nuisance. Graffiti tags are unsightly, destructive, expensive to repair, and blatantly corrosive to the ideals of society. Communities thrive on a sense of mutual respect and shared purpose. Graffiti signals the erosion of these values.

a photo of colorful graffiti in new york
Door With Graffiti - New York

Leave it to photographers to find the bright side of a bad situation. Urban blight is visually intriguing. Walk through a run down neighborhood, and you may walk away with some interesting photos. Exercise caution, of course. And be aware that copyright infringement could be an issue in some circumstances. (The graffiti could be considered a protected work of the visual arts.) But as long as you're not shooting an ad campaign, graffiti can provide ready-to-shoot backgrounds for your urban images. 

You might even consider making the graffiti your subject. The decaying plywood wall in the photo above has been bombarded by layer after layer of paint. The layers blend into a dadaist explosion of color and texture. (The fish is my favorite bit.)

When I walked past this wall, I felt compelled to do something with it. Initially, I envisioned a wider shot to capture more of the wall. But when I returned to the scene with my tripod, I had to work around some trash and the make-shift bed of a homeless person. I wanted to use a tripod, because this spot is under some scaffolding, and there isn't much light available. Eventually, I chose a portrait-oriented composition of only the door section. 

I'm pleased with the image. I think that it turned out well. Photographers know how to make something good in a bad situation. From chaos, composition!

Camera:    Nikon D810
Lens:        AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED

Wishing you great light and meaningful moments!

Copyright 2016 Daniel R. South
All Rights Reserved