Mo Connelly  

Wall Art, Birmingham (England) by Mo Connelly

June 2021 - Wall Art, Birmingham (England)

About the Image(s)

This image combines two of my favourite things - Birmingham and street art. Birmingham once an industrial giant became a very run down, poor, city with wonderful buildings and great people. The city is being regenerated including refurbishment of the old buildings, retaining the character but putting them to new purposes and the people remain wonderful. A lot of use has been made of wall art and I think that this is such a clever piece of wall art that I couldn’t resist it. There is a fairly regular debate about whether street photography must include people. I am one of those who believe that we must be strict about what we can do with our images once we call them street but that people are not always necessary. I look forward to your thoughts not only on my image but on my contention!
Taken on a Canon 5D, some time ago. The only work that has been done on it is a slight crop and some colour tweaking, plus minimal sharpening.

10 comments posted

Bev Caine   Bev Caine
I find this very interesting. Photographically it is very well done on your part. However, as you feel very strongly about people in street photography, I feel strongly regarding photographing someone else's art; which, by the way, is not acceptable in most competitions. I do very much like your composition of the fence and the building (?) on the left.   Posted: 06/02/2021 08:53:29
Mo Connelly   Mo Connelly
Whilst I don't think that people are necessary in street photography I don't think I said anything about feeling strongly about it. - rather that I thought it was a subject for discussion. I think your contention about (not) copying graffiti is really interesting and a big subject worth a full debate outside of my single image. Should your premise also apply to statues, buildings, churches, or anything outside? I think also that different countries may have different laws as to what is and what is not permissible photographically.

In the UK it is legal under the Copyright and Designs Act 1988 : Representation of certain artistic works on public display.

For me if the graffiti takes up more than half the photo you are copying the graffiti not creating a new composition, but it is not illegal and I've never seen it banned in competitions. In this instance the wall art does not take up more than half of the image and it is a new composition.

What do others think?   Posted: 06/02/2021 09:38:03
Bev Caine   Bev Caine
I guess I've gotten I little "hard nosed" because I've seen several times when images were rejected in club competitions as copying someone else's art. I haven't really considered buildings as someone's art, but I agree that becomes another whole discussion. And then comes the issue of the graffiti which is probably technically someone else's art. You are absolutely of lot's of discussions   Posted: 06/02/2021 09:55:32
Bill Foy   Bill Foy
Seems to me that this is a morphing into a topic that's somewhat outside the scope of our monthly commentary on the images presented. That leads me to suggest we take this discussion to our Bulletin Board, which you can find the link to at just about "dead center" at the top of the page.   Posted: 06/02/2021 10:08:33
Mo Connelly   Mo Connelly
will write something and post later this week in the hope of starting an interesting debate.   Posted: 06/02/2021 10:09:33
Bev Caine   Bev Caine
works for me   Posted: 06/02/2021 10:29:35

Ed Tepper   Ed Tepper
From an interest point of view (not a legal point of view or an "it is or is not street photography" point of view), as it relates to street photography, simply photoing wall art or a statue or any other art created by someone else is just plain boring to me.* If there was another interesting element in the photo that was not permanently related to the street art, the photo might be more interesting to me because of that element. I'm also not enamored with the composition. I think the white fence in the foreground is very distracting because it blocks some of the wall art in the background.

Technically, I think you nailed exposure and focus.

*If the intent is to document the wall art, which my friends and I do here in my hometown, that's a different story. Our intent is preserve the art for posterity before Mother Nature erases it.

I'm looking forward to the Bulletin Board discussion.   Posted: 06/02/2021 14:39:11

Victor Dallons   Victor Dallons
I posted my comments on on whether street images need to include people on the bulletin board. In that discussion, I touched on photographing street art.

I enjoy the humor of the painting of workpeople behind the duct.

I think that this is a highly graphical image, and that can be used to great effect to make this image your own. I am referring to triangles of light, the fence, the triangle formed by the intersection of the duct, fence, and light. For me, these are the strongest elements in the composition, the painted figures are an added bonus. The street art becomes an elements that adds interest. (I do like the painted figures in the lower left peaking through the fence slats.)

For me the most problematic element is the triangle of light on the left side of the image. I would dim that some while adding contrast to make the areas more interesting and better balance the image. I know you have expressed a practice to not do much post processing, but in this case it warrants it if you want a better image. The alternative is to go back to the location and take the image on an overcast day where the lighting on the left is not washed out. I also think that you could better balance the image by cropping out the dark area on the left; I don't think that it is adding anything to the image. Perhaps cropping from the top comes another implied triangle in the space where the figures are and removes some of the empty space at the top that makes the image a little top heavy for me.

Of course, you may have had other ideas as to what you wanted to express in this image. What you do with the image is your personal taste.   Posted: 06/03/2021 13:46:18
Comment Image
Mo Connelly   Mo Connelly
Thank you Victor. Your comments are appreciated and you are right with the corrections you've made - it is now a better image but leaves in all the elements that made me submit it in the first place. Thank you.   Posted: 06/06/2021 08:18:45

Bill Foy   Bill Foy
I think capturing the wall artist's depiction of people working on a pipeline was a good decision - simply because I would have done the same thing. As Ed mentioned, your exposure and focus are spot on. The changes that Victor added make the image much better, in my opinion.   Posted: 06/09/2021 10:55:52


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