A photoblog with pictures I've taken of graffiti and street art in Moscow (and anywhere else I happen to travel).

Friday, March 25, 2005

Why am I doing this?

Some might see graffiti and street art as just more of the visual static created by a big city - like billboard ads, puddles of filth, or plastic bags spiraling in the wind, something that's there but not deserving of too much attention. But I'm not one of those people. And so I've been photographing tags and other graffiti around Moscow. If I see something I like, I try to photograph it immediately, because graffiti is often erased or painted over pretty quickly. The non-permanence of graffiti is one of the reasons why it isn't considered "art" by many; for me, it's a major reason to photograph it when I see it.


Vtroyom (втроём - this word has no exact translation,
but it refers to three items or people existing or acting
together) graffito by the exit to Tverskaya St. from the
passage underneath Pushkin Square, 6:41pm, Feb. 23.


Vtroyom graffito in the Pushkin Sq. underpass (near the exit to the
Pushkin statue), 5:01pm, Feb. 23.

In the case of the Vtroyom tags, days later there were only blurry spots on the tile walls marking the places where they had been.


Graffiti on theater poster display in the Pushkin Sq. underpass, 8:39am, Feb. 26.

These were also gone within less than a week; there were visible marks on the plexiglass where the tags had been scraped off.

Sometimes it's harder to eradicate a tag:



Not-quite-erased Zachem tag on the outside wall of the
Kinomir movie theater, Nastas'inskii pereulok, 5:05pm,
March 8.


Zachem painted over on Malaya Nikitskaya St., 2:23pm, Feb. 10.

Other times, the "graffiti abatement" specialists - or perhaps just property owners who want a clean storefront - are more successful:

Traces of graffiti, Pl. Tverskoi Zastavy, March 12, 10:22am.

The point is, for better or for worse, so much of the most prominently placed graffiti in any big city is not there for very long before it is erased, painted over, or altered in some drastic way. Therefore, I feel compelled to record the moment in time when I see it.

5 Comments:

Anonymous naz said...

Hey L, nice work, I lived in Moskva '96-'00, love the place. I agree about the impermanence of grafitti lending a sense of urgency to capturing it. I've seen g exhibitions in Germany, where it is recognised as art. Unfortunately, just the other day here in Manchester, UK, there was a big kerfuffle over council-sponsored grafitti, which was subsequently painted over with a institutional grey. sad but true.

8:11 AM

 
Anonymous jose luis said...

great work. i love moscow and it is really nice to see it again through your eyes.

4:56 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LiFe is a miracle....Thank you for contribution!

1:53 PM

 
Anonymous sean said...

I enjoy seeing your pictures. I was in moscow this summer and took two pictures of graffiti you might enjoy:

smiley
stallion

9:14 PM

 
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