The difficulty with photographing sticker art or graffiti stickers is that it’s really difficult to provide context for the sticker without losing all the details that might make it interesting to begin with. This context versus context struggle exists when photographing just about any sort of street art or graffiti, but it’s especially true with stickers. They are usually so small that you have to get inches away for a good photo, but then it’s hardly clear if the sticker is on a busy street or in a leafy suburb, surrounded by other interesting things or the lone bit of culture for an entire block. This is especially important with illegal work like stickers where an artist is taking a risk to put something in a particular location of their choice (okay admittedly stickers are not all that risky). Understanding the context of the piece can really add to my appreciation for it. I don’t know if I’ve the first person or the thousandth to figure this out and I don’t consider myself a serious photographer, but I think I’ve stumbling across an interesting way to take photos of stickers that balances context and content: Panorama mode.
My iPhone has a panorama mode that I don’t think I’d ever used until earlier this summer, when I accidentally realized it could be useful for photographing stickers. I was just fooling around with my iPhone, seeing if the panorama mode could work if you had something up very close and also something far away that both needed to be in focus. So I tested it by photographing a sticker and trying to move from the sticker to some background elements across the street. I saw the resulting image and suddenly I hardly cared about my little experiment. I saw a photograph that captured the details of a sticker while still giving context to its placement, and I fell instantly in love with the technique.
Obviously taking photos with a wide angle lens or in panorama mode is nothing new, but I can’t remember ever having seen it used for this purpose before. If anyone wants to prove me wrong, please leave a comment. I’d love to see what other people have been doing with this technique.
What do you think of this technique? Does it is balance content and context well enough? These are just some early shots by me, and I’m no photographer, so if you think you can take this further and do it better, please do and let me know how it goes. I would love to see others improve upon this. For me, it’s made documenting stickers so much more fun and fulfilling. Anyone can photograph another printed André the Giant sticker, but this technique highlights how context can make even printed stickers unique so long as the placement is interesting.
For the fourth consecutive year Ad Hoc Art has brought dozens of artists to the Welling Court community in Astoria, Queens, transforming it into a first-rate open air museum. Here’s a small sampling of what could be seen this weekend:
If you are anywhere near NYC, a visit to Welling Court is a must! The diversity of the works and the responses of the local residents to them are astounding. And if you’d like to help fund this project, check this out.
The small elements unique to each artwork are the subject of “Detail,” a group exhibit opening this evening, Saturday, March 2nd, 6 – 8pm at Woodward Gallery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Exquisitely curated, the exhibit features a range of intriguing images in a variety of media by a dozen artists. Among the artists featured are five whose works continue to grace our streets: Cassius Fouler, Thomas Buildmore, Kenji Nakayama, Kosbe and Moody. Here’s a sampling of what is on view at 133 Eldridge Street through April 28th.
Photos by Tara Murray and courtesy of Woodward Gallery
There’s a raw elegance to Kosby’s aesthetic that has intrigued me since I first came upon his stickers and paste-ups a number of years back on an array of public surfaces in Brooklyn and Manhattan. It’s great to see it now gracing the Woodward Gallery Project Space on Manhttan’s Lower East Side, where it is visible to so many. Here are a few close-ups from the four-panel installation, Borrowed Time, that officially “opened” this weekend.
Photo courtesy of Woodward Gallery and by Lenny Collado
I made it over to Woodward Gallery last week to check out its current exhibit, Summer Selections. Described as “a selection of work by legendary and new contemporary masters,” it features some of my favorite street artists, along withsuch masters as Jasper Johns, Paul Gauguin and Robert Rauschenberg. And what a treat to discover an original vintage Alexander Calder lithograph with drawings by LA ll! Here are some more favorites from the exhibit that continues through this Saturday, August 4th at 133 Eldridge Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side:
Photos of Calder & LAll, Kosbe, Darkcloud and Buildmore, courtesy Woodward Gallery; Celso photo, Tara Murray & Stikman, Lois Stavsky
Not only is Royce Bannon one of New York City’s most passionate street artists, but he is also a first-rate curator. His current venture, Rather Unique, is a testament to both his curatorial skills and to the diverse range of artwork crafted by artists whose primary canvas is the streets. And the Lower East Side’s Woodward Gallery, located at 133 Eldridge Street, is the perfect venue for the exhibit. Here are a few images:
Rather Unique continues through February 19th. You can view additional images by DarkCloud, Matt Siren, Kenji Nakayama, Celso, Cassius Fowler and more on Woodward Gallery’s website.
Photos by Sara Mozeson, Tara Murray & Lois Stavsky
I’ve always loved Kosbe’s zany characters and somewhat esoteric messages. Mostly on stickers, they occasionally make their way onto wheatpastes, as this recent addition to NYC’s East Village.
Yesterday, Kosbe shared with me — via his iPhone — a photo of his piece currently on exhibit in Martha Cooper’s “Remix” at the Carmichael Gallery in Culver City, CA. A recreation of Cooper’s iconic 1980 photo of Dondi sketching in his room with friends in East New York, Brooklyn, it uncovers another side of Kosbe’s flair.