Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Newtown Graffiti, Johannesburg 2016

In Newtown, Johannesburg there is a stretch of the De Villiers Graaf motorway motorway known as the 'Double Decker'.  The Double Decker is actually a bridge like structure consisting of two reinforced concrete deck superstructures, directly above each other supported on trestle like piers.

These massive concrete piers  has become a magnet for graffiti artists and many of the piers and the surrounding buildings are covered in graffiti.

This stretch of motorway is being rehabilitated at the moment and the process will result in the removal of the graffiti  as the piers are repaired, cleaned and repainted. I was approached by the consulting engineers in charge of the project to photograph the graffiti before it was removed. Thus in efect documenting the Graffiti before its removal.

The photography posed a few technical and visual challenges

The area below the 'double decker' is quite dark and lit by what looks to be sodium vapor lights which casts a yellow orange light on parts of the scene mixed with daylight in other areas. On one stretch of the road there was a huge red painted building that bathed the opposite side of the road side of the road in red light.

I decided to capture the mixed light as I saw it and I did not try to eliminate it in the editing process The images were made with the camera on a tripod and the iso set to 50 or a 100 mostly, which resulted in slowish shutter speeds and thus many of the people in the images are somewhat 'ghostlike'.

I used mostly semi wide and wide angle shift lenses so that the verticals and perspective is  correct rendered, although because of the piers being narrower at the bottom  than at the top the perspective does look a bit strange to my eyes and it was quite difficult to level the images, spirit levels on the camera non withstanding.

Below: A mini portfolio...

A few image were also made using a telephoto zoom lens to compress the perspective and isolate the details more..

I believe the new DA mayor of Johannesburg is making plans to eliminate all the graffiti in town so it looks like these images were made just in time...

Regards, Ivan