Restoring Street Art


I am sort of fascinated with informal street art – graffiti, if that makes you happier – I like the pictures, but I like the lettering even better. I am convinced that the lettering is a throw back to Mayan Glyphs.

About a week ago, Ed Dieden called to tell me to bring my camera with me to lunch, he had found a great vain of street art in Oakland.

By the time we got there, however, the art had been defaced. I have seen this on alot of Mayan sites, also. Somebody comes along later and trashes the art, presumable to show dominance. With street art, all it takes is a spray-painted line drawn through the art, sort of like keying a nice car.

OK, “restoring Street Art” is way too grandiose a term. But with street art, or any digital photograph, the photographer has an astounding amount of after-shot-control using Lightroom and Photoshop. I have talked to lots of photographers who frown on post shutter manipulation but I am not one of them. Ansel Adams – one of the demiGods of photography – retouched both his negatives and prints taking the tradition of post shutter manipulation back almost 100 years (and I am sure he was not the first).

My own standards – using the word standards in the most grandiose way possible – is having the final picture most closely represent what it felt like being there (I guess, by that criteria, I should accent the white defacing lines because, once I noticed them, they became very obtrusive but, at first, I didn’t notice them and they do detract from the art). I have no desire to Photoshop batman running through a wall although I have no problem with other people doing that. Here are a couple of shots, cleaned-up.



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