Street_Art and Ephemeral are two words that seem to live a never ending “love/hate” story. Street artists assume that, sooner or later, their interventions and artistic creations will be gone with the wind… so the need to document Street_Art works before they are “gone” is inherent to the nature of Street_Art itself. Therefore, the role of photographers becomes critical so as to preserve Street_Art for the future. Not only in terms of historical documentation, but also they provide images of the process of creation, the reaction of public, the artistic scene, the social and political atmosphere of different neighbourhoods, urban areas and cities. Somehow, they can modify the way we, as spectators, perceive urban art. And on the other hand, they boost street art and artists when uploading their photos in the web and woks can be seen worldwide.
Photo by Keegan Gibbs. The emotions of Street_Art creative process
Photographers´ styles differ in what they focus their cameras on. Some provide a wide documentation of Street_Art during a period of time, like Matha Cooper, who documented graffiti scene during the 80´s in New York. Others rather outline the act of artistic creation itself, like Nils Müller, others choose to prioritize the artists …You may found a wider photographers classification depending on what they focus on in the widewalls web.
The artist in the center: Keegan Gibbs focusess on the artists themselves. He follows the graffiti writers around the city when they work with spray-cans on walls and rooftops. Keegan is able to translate the emotion and atmosphere of the creation process to his photographies.
Street art history in the center: Martha Cooper is an American photojournalist famous for documenting the New York subway tagging in the 80´s and the birth of street art. She followed the writers on their subway tours aiming to document the painting within their real context. Her world-wide famous book Subway art, a porfolio of graffiti tagging was the result. Martha Cooper also released Hip Hop Files, R.I.P. New York Spraycan Memorials and From Here to Fame.
Photo by Martha Cooper – The history of graffiti in New York
The act of creation in the center: Nils Müller
This photographer focuses on the act of creation and the emotions involved in it. His visual language is sophisticated and tries to show their personalities. Recently, he releases Vandals in which he provides insight into a hidden movement that is dangerously appealing. Instead of simply photographing the finished works, Müller documents the process behind it. Formerely, he published Bluetezeit, also documenting the graffiti painting processs.
Photo by Nils Müller – Focus on process and emotions
Politicial action in the center: JR is a French street artist photographer whose identity is unconfirmed. He focuses on social and political issues and many of his projects are not legal, however he managed to win the TED Prize because his work tries to change the world generating public awareness on different social and political issues.
Photo by JR- Social criticism in Street_Art
More info about Street_Art and Photography in these links: