Here's a controversial post.. and one that some might not expect from a wedding photographer, but all the more reason I should share it.
Creative rebellion is an important part of my work- a willingness to break with mainstream goes beyond the way I look or dress. And this day was the perfect example.
We were like a group of naughty kids, avoiding the glares of passing tourists and speaking in hushed tones. We scaled up the steep hill, the sun beating down on our backs; small pockets of snow crunching beneath our feet. Once at the top of the hill, and trying to catch my breath, I squinted and blinked.. the hard sun in the mountains made it hard to pick out the silhouette of my camera's subject. He was already busy in his bag, pulling out spray cans and moving quickly.
I had agreed to set out with my camera, to shoot a graf artist in action. Whilst he tagged, we moved around each other, quietly and at speed.. whispering and working with
the intoxicating smell of wet paint filling the tunnel.
I'm unashamed to say it was really exciting.
The whole experience made me think though, about the value of the subversive in culture, and how specifically, graffiti is defined by that. Recently, a few friends of mine were asked by Facebook to remove their alias, and replace it with their real name. Further to, they were required to provide ID proof of this, or their account would be shut down. It struck me as ironic, that alternative identities are not allowed on social network, even though the one we present on there is pure concept anyway. That retro 'big brother' paranoia is now beginning to set in for our generation, and for good reason.
Perhaps then, the creative alias is all the more valuable now. Graf has long understood the importance of anonymity to true subversion. In fact, it forms the very foundation of it's cultural identity, and ensures that those within it can continue the practice.
Against the law? Yes. Controversial? Absolutely. But in my opinion, ever more culturally and creatively important.
The late Terry Pratchett said something which always makes me smile, and I couldn't agree more:
“...it's not worth doing something unless someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren't doing it..."