(mostly) daily photoblog

Posts tagged “Graffiti



One of our many examples of graffiti here in the Kemang area of South Jakarta.

I went for a ride on Saturday and found many more examples of what’s happening around here in street art. There’s some crap, some territorial scrawlings, but there’s also some really beautiful, really well-done art.

I’ll let you decide into which category this falls.

A little architecture, a little graffiti

graffiti hotel

A little bit of both. This is on the corner where Kemang Raya, the main street in our neighborhood, breaks off into two one-way streets. The graffiti, as you’ve seen in the last few days, is in the wreck of a former building. Adjacent to the old building is an old hotel. It sticks out because it is one of the taller buildings in this part of Kemang.



I’m trying to think of something witty or poignant to say about this,but nothing’s coming to mind. All I can think about is that I didn’t sleep well last night and now I’m so tired that I’m lucky that breathing is a reflex.

A window on art

graffiti window

This is another shot from Saturday morning’s bike ride around Kemang. I like how what used to be a building frames the art that’s growing up around the area. I will say this, though: there is little more difficult than trying to figure out which horizontal line in this photo should be straight. One of the rules of a good photo is that the horizon should be straight. The problem with this photo is that there are a couple too many horizons.

I still liked it enough to post it.

How about you?

WordPress Photo Challenge: Resolved

graffiti masjid

I resolved to get to know my city a bit better.  I bought a motorcycle in the early days of December, and, now that it’s finally licensed, I’ve been driving it around my neighborhood.  I bought it so that I could get to and from work more easily, but it’s offered so much more than a commuter vehicle ever could.

Jakarta is an immeasurably large city.  There are five areas, as far as I can tell, that actually make up the city of Jakarta:  South (where I live), North, East, West, and Central.  Then there are all the other towns, villages, cities that have been absorbed by the greater Jakarta area.  On top of that, the council of people who plan out how the city develops seems to be non-existent.  Streets start and stop, lead to suicidal corners and dead-ends, narrow to daredevil dimensions.  If rhyme and reason play any part, they are a funeral dirge to the hopes of newcomers wishing to get to know their new city.

Add to all of that the “macet” (literally translated as “jammed” – referring to Jak’s horrible traffic), and buying a car was out of the question.  So I bought a motorcycle.  What’s great is that, in the three or four days of driving it around my neighborhood, I’ve already scouted a number of places I had no idea existed.

What you see above is an example of one of those places.  I particularly love the juxtaposition of the mosque and the graffiti.

She’s been watching me


I’ve found some new-found freedom here in the Big Jak.  I’ve been driving my motorcycle a lot this week, now that I finally have licence plates for it, and it’s given me some ability to get around and snap photos that I’ve not had the opportunity to take.

This girl, painted on a wall at a corner on a one-way section of Jalan Kemang Raya, watches me every time I go by her.  Today, I got out and took her picture.  I like her headband-ears.

Now that I’ve got mobility, I think it’s time to find some more street art.

Photo Friday: Close


I find that when I put my camera on the ground, or upside-down on a train ceiling, or against a wall, I get the most interesting results, just because it’s close to something.

Vespas, Graffiti, and Frustration


These Vespas are on the way to school.  I’m in the market for a motorcycle right now, and if the rules for buying one get any more complex and the “ease” of getting one gets any less easy, I may make an offer on one of these.  Maybe the one without the seat.

Oh baby…

…I forgot how much fun it is to shoot in a super-shallow depth of field.  I slapped my 55mm, f1.8, vintage Pentax lens on my camera and took a walk to school.  This little piece of graffiti caught my eye and I shot it at f2.8 and it turned out like this.

What do you think?

Kemang Style!

I don’t know what to say about this.  How about, “Take that, Gangnam Style!”  No?

Street style?

Jakarta style?

WordPress Photo Challenge: Unfocused

There’s a little something in photography called Depth of Field.  It refers to how much of a space there is between the nearest and farthest objects in a photograph that is sharply focused.  A photographer may choose to have a large depth of field in order to keep everything in focus, or choose a small depth of field in order to allow a great deal of the photo to be out of focus.  How you manipulate your aperture will determine how much of your photo is in focus, and, therefore, how large or small your depth of field is.

One strange this for me, however, is how a small aperture – say, f8 or above – may feel unfocused even though more of the photo is in sharp focus.  Take the photo above, for instance.  It was shot at f8.  It is mostly sharp.  It does, however, challenge me to decide on what subject to focus my attention.  Should I pay attention to the bright and perplexing graffiti on the wall?  Or maybe the strange artwork, wherein some…thing…seems to be trying to pry its way out of the wall?  Or perhaps I should pay attention to the broken toilet and discarded shopping cart.  By shooting it all in focus, I’ve created too many subjects and, therefore, created an unfocused, but sharp, photo.

What do you think?

Holey Moley!

Lame pun?  Check.

Giant concrete supports?  Check.

Cool underground circles?  Check.

Photo of cool graffiti?   Check.

Zombie Triptych

Kris (a friend and colleague) and I went trekking through the mud Monday to check out the recent renovations at our local graffiti venue.  The zombies are definitely a new(ish) addition to the area.  I posted a photo of the largest portion of the triptych on Monday, but after looking at all the photos, I thought it might be fun, morbid fun, to put them all together.

It’s certainly not something I’d hang on my wall at home, but I think it’s creepy cool.


…LESEN…and whatever else it says on the left side there.

I don’t know what “TIO” and “ETC” means, but I like this piece.  I stitched this together from about eight photos.  Here’s the odd part:  I didn’t notice the background to this piece until I saw it through my lens.  It’s so weird that the skulls were completely hidden to my naked eye, but, through the lens, the background stood out.

I feel like this might look like an exercise in PhotoShop skills, seeing as I’ve given you nothing to anchor this as a graffiti piece on a concrete wall, but I hope you like it anyway.  Someone took his time putting it up – I’m just publicizing it.

Family portrait?

Ooh…pretty, aren’t they?

They look like they’re hungry.

Mystic Raccoon!

This may look familiar.  I’ve posted this guy before.  What I went for on this shot that differs from the rest is this:  This is a photomerge of five shots.  I took this a week ago.  I shot from low to high, correcting the exposure as I went, which did not need much adjustment, actually, as it was a cloudy day with perfectly diffused light.

In previous shots of this same street art, I didn’t get the details quite as clearly.  That’s why I went back.  Sometimes, there are photo opportunities that haunt the back of my head until I get the shot the way I saw it in real life.  Just a little OCD, I guess.

Oh, and sorry about the long scroll-down.  Click on the image and it’ll open in a way that fits your browser.


Hey Eraserhead! Do you know who your director is?

Lynch, that’s who.  Or, as the tagger left it, LYNCH!

This little photo opportunity presented itself in Victoria.  I was shooting some great vistas of my Province’s capital when I looked left and saw a street art homage to the most twisted film I’ve ever seen.  That film is “Eraserhead” and I’m pretty sure that I don’t want to remember that film.  Now, I don’t know what spawned the inspiration for this little bit of stencil art, but if I had any artistic skill I don’t think I would have used it for this.

Still, the opportunity presented itself.




Gibberish.  Nonsense.  Babble.  Blahblahblah.  Yada yada yada.

I don’t care what you call it, but I don’t understand it.  The graffiti above presumably means something and were I a street artist I might even be able to decipher what it means.  As it is, I am an English teacher and I haven’t got a clue.

I still appreciate its beauty and artistry.  To be able to pull off something this large with spray paint in a short amount of time – it is public property, after all – is amazing to me.

Can anyone read this?


The eye is always watching

The eyes are the windows to the soul.

It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get into heaven.

I’ve got my eye on you.

An eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind.

Look me straight in the eye.

You never know how you look through the eyes of others.


Um…do you have any to add?

Freaks and geeks…

I managed to get out and shoot some street art today.  Despite not feeling well and waking up far too early (4:07 a.m.  Really?  Stupid brain…go back to sleep at that hour) I ran some stairs and then went for a quick photographic adventure.

I will post, in the next few days, the actual route that I take to get to this underpass.  It sits under the Trans-Canada highway and houses two lines of rail.  It also houses some of our city’s homeless, who’ve taken refuge at the upper parts of the berms that hold up the highway.  It also, conveniently, is just around the corner from Wal-Mart.

Lately, I’ve come to use the term “freak” quite often, so when I found this I had to shoot it.  Not the prettiest photo, but definitely a statement.  What’s it saying to you?


Photo Friday: Street Art Spirit Raccoon

This is one of my favorite pieces of street art.  It’s some kind of “anti-consumerist” comment that I’m not even sure I understand, but I don’t know that exact comprehension is important when it comes to art.

This piece might be about the consumption of native art and the fact that the real meaning of aboriginal painting is lost when it’s purchased by ignorant people.  Maybe it’s about aboriginal artists no longer making their art for community and are now making it for the highest bidder.  Maybe it’s about raccoons holding people hostage by sitting on their heads.  I don’t know.

What I do know?  It looks cool.

Photo Friday’s challenge this week is Animal.   Spirit raccoon seemed to fit.

Can’t Catch Me

That’s serious arrogance.  On the shoe of, presumably, the graffiti artist is the sign of his attitude:  “CAN’T CATCH ME”.  I wonder if he actually left his shoe behind on purpose or if he took off so fast that he left them behind by accident.  Oh…wait…there’s an option I hadn’t thought about until this moment…

Our local graffiti artist is the…GINGERBREAD MAN!  It all makes sense now.  I remember how the story goes:

I’ve run away from a little old woman,

A little police man,

And I can run away from you, I can!

You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man!


Wow.  My exam marking exhaustion is making my fevered brain worse by the moment.  Let’s stop this before it gets…any…crazzzzzzzzzzzzz


I hereby present, to the world, my first triptych

I was playing with a bunch of photos of this helmeted guy – you can look at yesterday’s post if you want to see the photo all by itself.  I’ve been playing at different ways to present a photo and this offered the opportunity to play with perspective.  I tried to focus on the art and its context.  I also accidentally did the first one in grayscale instead of color, so below is the result of that.  What do you think?  Am I doing okay?

And, yes, I did play around with the composition of the triptych.  Which one worked better?

Whoever wears this helmet, if he be worthy…

…will possess the power of the mighty Thor.  No, wait.  That’s the hammer to which Odin was referring, not the helmet.  Sorry.  I got that all wrong.

On the other hand, given the mustache, this could be, say, Don Quixote.

Maybe a steampunk Iron Man, with Tony Stark circa 1981.  Actually, now that I think about it, that is much more interesting than the whole “Thor” thing.

It could be, however, that the artist who created this painting had nothing superhero-ish in mind at all.  Maybe it’s a comment on the way in which we’re all masked through our use of technology and that “nothing is but what is not.”  A sort of post-modern Macbeth-ian interpretation of our Facebooked, texted, Twittered society, wherein we guard ourselves against life by creating insular armor of emoticons and 140 character blurbs about our exercise regimens and bathroom habits.  Maybe the artist is begging us to embrace the humanity behind the armor, behind the guarded personalities we project through our use of smartphones and iPhones.

Or, maybe he just thought that a glowing aura helmet guy would look cool.



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