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On the field trip we went to Hosier Lane.  This laneway is well known for its Graffiti.  It is covered in it.  Some of it is amazing, while other bits are just the same boring graffiti you find everywhere.  So, when is it art, and when is it crap that you find everywhere?  It isn’t a question I really wanted to answer here, but it did get me to thinking about photography and when you photograph things like this.

As photographers we take photos of the mundane, and the beautiful and then we transform that into something even better.  It isn’t often that you look at photo and then see the real thing and think they are the same.  They usually look completely different.  We try to enhance what we see to something amazing.

What happens when you are photographing something that is already beautiful, or something that is considered art?

Do we have the right to change it and make it something else, or should our role, in this instance, be just to make it look good, but be true to the artist that first created it?  Are we breaching some copyright laws if we try to make it into something elset?

If I take a photo and someone buys it and then tries to change it, then they are breaching my copyright, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with graffiti.  A woman here photographs the graffiti and then puts the images on cards to sell.  She sells lots of them.  So the question remains, is that photographer breaching copyright?  She is making money from someone else’s art.  Though with the work is in a public space, it would be hard to prove ownership.

Is our responsibility to just record this art form, or is it okay to photograph it and then turn it into something else?  I don’t know the answers, though, if a graffiti work looked fantastic, like the first image, then I would try to highlight the work and not try to make it something else.  However, if the graffiti seemed random and not to conform to anything other than tagging, and the person who had done it, had done it over the top of other works, then I would be reluctant to give it the same respect.

I have, with the image above, done more processing than I had with the first one.

This image, for me, is more about the laneway, than any graffiti in particular.  I wanted to give an overall look at what the laneways look like.  Every surface is covered, even the road.  It is quite amazing to look at.   I did push this image with the processing as well.  It is a HDR image, processed in Photomatix, with post editing in CS5.

This image is done the same as the previous image.  I haven’t pushed it as far as the previous image, but it is important to make the graffiti stand out.

Again, this is done in a similar way, only I blurred the image, but made the mirror clear and sharp. There are people photographing the laneway as well.  There were a lot of people in the lane taking photos, it is a popular tourist destination.

This piece of graffiti was actually in another lane but I thought it great and wanted to show it to you.  It is not done in the usual way, that is by spray cans on the walls, but rather it has been done on paper and then stuck on the wall.  I would imagine that makes it even more like a piece of art, shame another graffiti artist has put paint on one of the faces.

This pair of shoes was over a power line.  Everywhere we went in the south part of the city, we saw shoes like this.  Quite funny.  I had to show you.  This image is quite amazing, don’t you think. I can’t work out whether the background is a drawing, or whether I photographed it badly and it ended up looking like a drawing.  I really like it.

Some interesting questions, I hope you think.  I would be interested to know what you think.

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