Why? What draws me to graffiti? Some find it the scourge of modern urban life. I don’t find this is the case. I have been historic palaces – like Dover Castle or even Eltham Palace – where there has been graffiti. Although this graffiti are often carvings on the walls rather than using a spray can.
Graffiti can be quite elaborate and creative, but it can also be rather dull and ugly. The built environment often lends itself rather well as a canvas for graffiti. The architecture of cities tells one story, but I don’t find it’s the full story of human experience. Graffiti challenges societal norms. It’s often seen as a nuisance by local government, and is often painted over – only to be replaced by new graffiti.
While graffiti can be an alternative conversation, I find there is a human need to say ‘I was here’. Whether this reflects the transient nature of life, and particularly of larger cities or a human desire for some semblance of permanence is open for debate. I would imagine it’s a bit of both.
What graffiti can reflect is a human voice and experience that is otherwise often shut out of mainstream society. It can be subversive. However, it can also become ‘trendy’ as it’s often seen as alternative and challenging the norm.
Whatever graffiti represents, it’s not likely to go away anytime soon, and I’m sure I’ll be photographing it for a while.