Graffiti Art is something very few of us acknowledge or even take the time to evaluate. Because the images in our minds are limited to what we remember seeing, photography gives us a chance to scrutinize our subject and enables us to see what we missed at first glance or in this case, what we will never see again.

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The graffiti images shown here were done in a covered car park at the back of a teachers’ resource center, where young graffiti artists had been given permission to do their artwork using aerosol spray paint like an artist would use an airbrush. The only stipulation was that they weren’t to touch the walls on the adjacent building.

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I returned to this spot twice to record the new images, and noticed that the wall adjacent was being covered by taggers who had no artistic intent. When I returned on the third weekend, all the graffiti on this building and in the car park area had been painted out. I learned later that the police had arrested the taggers and as punishment the judge gave them the task of painting the car park area and the adjacent wall.

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I created a photo essay to tell this story….the first image is the doorway on the adjacent wall where the taggers made themselves known; the next three images were created by the graffiti artists in the car park area. Each time I returned the graphic images on the concrete walls had changed and it wasn’t until I printed these photographs that I really felt the impact of the images and how they had evolved, one on top of the other, each with its own message.

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The last image was taken after the walls had been painted; a friend of the graffiti artists posed for me in the doorway. I hand-colored these images with artist oils and framed them as one piece of artwork with the following poem as part of the piece.

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Doorways, dark alleys, no place to hide
From the lights of cars, as they quickly scribe
Their messages for those who care to see;
Not necessarily for you or me.
As one helps the other in their graphic quest,
There’s sometimes a battle to see who is best
But as their struggle continues, they soon discover
Their messages of art have been quietly covered.

Photo Essay by Margaret Brezden
All photos are Copyright, Margaret Brezden. They have been digitally watermarked and may be used for your on-line viewing pleasure only. No other uses are allowed without expressed written permission from Margaret Brezden.

All written content (and most images) in these articles are copyrighted by the authors. Copyrighted material from Apogee Photo Mag should not be used elsewhere without seeking the authors permission.

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