Graffiti Photographs

I don’t actively hunt graffiti out but occasionally there is a piece that demands a second look when I see it.  Whether because of the color, the shapes, the location or something less tangible, I have to photograph the occasional piece.  Here are four pieces where I like the art and the way I captured them in a photograph.

An incongruous drawing in the bedroom of a long abandoned farmhouse near Gull Lake, Saskatchewan.

Railroad cars have no shortage of graffiti on them.  This little bird and the weathered paint attracted me more than the larger canvases nearby.

This van’s delivery days are long past but it is doing great brightening up a back alley in an industrial section of Calgary.

116 responses

  1. Pingback: Exceedingly » Blog Archive » pictures of graffity

    • Have a read through some of the comments here. A pretty good discussion on several sides of this argument. I like the expression and creativity that many graffiti artists present. I don’t like the vandalism that some artists engage in. It’s a slippery slope but when it is well done and in places where it “works”, this art can be fantastic. Thanks for visiting and for your comments.

      June 3, 2011 at 10:12 am

  2. Pingback: Merely» Blog Archive » pictures of graffiti

  3. Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes! These are very good, well taken, and the subject’s mesmerising. They’re all very good and the form in the first one is very enjoyable. Excellent.

    April 7, 2011 at 3:40 am

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  5. Jan

    Hi Chris, I also say: the van is very nice! Great stuff.

    February 14, 2011 at 12:14 am

  6. Nice pictures, the graffities aren’t special, but the photographs are. Maybe you should always fix on something, and by doing that create an image of the all around you.

    February 13, 2011 at 3:12 pm

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  8. You`re a great photographer and you have interesting topics ! well done ! 🙂

    February 12, 2011 at 7:10 pm

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  10. I like the second picture a lot! 🙂 The color is so…I do not know. Just how you took this picture made it look like a painting!

    February 11, 2011 at 12:49 am

  11. Pingback: Chris Martin Photography « The Death of Glitter

  12. the van is nice… 🙂

    February 10, 2011 at 9:03 am

  13. Pingback: revolucion social in jaen « Blog Archive « huevolution

  14. Great job mate.

    Grafitis can always be interesting 🙂

    DP: Visit my new post and tell me what you think about it. Im new here 😀

    February 9, 2011 at 6:00 pm

  15. It is true, some Graffitis are small pieces of art. There are lot of really good ones that trully call our attention.
    You captured some of the good ones! thanks.

    February 9, 2011 at 9:18 am

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  18. I love these. Such an awesome subject matter.

    February 8, 2011 at 9:07 am

  19. humanitarikim

    The train car photo is lovely. I’ve been especially attracted to the color red lately. Hmmm. Maybe I need to paint something?

    Thanks for sharing and providing inspiration!

    February 8, 2011 at 8:04 am

  20. fridacmcarlsson

    Wow, your pictures are amazing. I’m blown away 🙂

    February 8, 2011 at 7:55 am

  21. Love the gruesome context on the second and the third, it gives them soul…
    Nice photos!

    February 8, 2011 at 7:23 am

  22. oh i like the 2nd (rural) one a LOT.
    the drawing is so unusual and the colors of the room.. unreal! great capture..!

    February 8, 2011 at 7:16 am

  23. Wonderful. You have an eye for unusual but enjoyable art. Keep it up. =)

    February 8, 2011 at 6:59 am

  24. not gonna lie, these are pretty sick. brings the movie “Exit Through The Gift Shop” to mind. check it out if you haven’t.

    February 8, 2011 at 5:46 am

  25. The abandoned bedroom picture appeals to me most. There’s a haunting quality about it that speaks volumes. Besides it looks the most natural and the least enhanced.

    February 8, 2011 at 5:11 am

  26. vanimator

    These are great, really nice captures.
    Thanks for the wonderful post.


    February 8, 2011 at 5:00 am

  27. Nice Graffities!

    Do you want to see some Street-art from Bern, Switzerland?

    Check this out:

    Keep it green!


    February 8, 2011 at 4:01 am

  28. The photographs are abstract and different to look at. The photoraphs have a definition of its own which makes it interesting.

    February 8, 2011 at 2:03 am

  29. Cool idea you have here. I am actually thinking of doing the same here at our place. We have lots of interesting graffiti in Manila, Phils. Will try this sometime. Thanks for sharing!

    February 8, 2011 at 1:50 am

  30. Come to Detroit, we have a lot of graffiti with plenty of choice locations to choose from. You’ll be shooting all day and night.

    February 8, 2011 at 1:07 am

  31. Pingback: Graffiti Photographs (via Chris Martin Photography) | The Calculable

  32. pax

    it’s repulsive and rebellious.
    yet, I can’t deny comfort it brings..
    inspiration blossomed in the lost defiant child trapped in this overmodest scribbler.
    well done.

    February 7, 2011 at 10:38 pm

  33. Pingback: Graffiti Photographs (via Chris Martin Photography) « wincharles

  34. i love when a photographer can take the ordinary and give it to us with their perspective. very nicely done!

    February 7, 2011 at 9:29 pm

  35. Wow!! Super like all of them…

    February 7, 2011 at 9:24 pm

  36. I love the abandoned bedroom, the childish nature of the drawing against such a bleak backdrop is beautiful. What a great find.

    February 7, 2011 at 9:18 pm

  37. wow!

    February 7, 2011 at 8:56 pm

  38. SWK

    Really striking photographs! Love the bright colors. Some of that graffiti is really visually interesting.

    February 7, 2011 at 8:44 pm

  39. I love the colors in these photos

    February 7, 2011 at 8:32 pm

  40. I don’t think its about glorifying vandalism even though it is a shame we can’t those who do this to do their craft in a legal fashion. It’s about seeing and sharing that. I really like the bus photo. It’s gritty and a seemingly forgotten relic. It’s also sharing a view of something most people if not all people would overlook. However in this context it’s quite interesting. Thanks.

    February 7, 2011 at 7:44 pm

  41. Have always been fascinated by graffiti. Went to Warsaw recently and they have incredible graffiti. Some of it covering the entire side of an apartment complex. Still kicking myself for not taking pictures.

    February 7, 2011 at 7:33 pm

  42. erhu ianyce

    awesome that’s all i can say right now…

    February 7, 2011 at 7:23 pm

  43. Wow. I really enjoyed these photos! Especially the one with the delivery truck. I love the contrast of the bright, loud truck against the gentle wildflowers (or maybe they are weeds)… at any rate, really lovely photos!

    Thanks for sharing,

    February 7, 2011 at 7:08 pm

  44. I love this blog, very theme and awesome photos! thanks for sharing!

    February 7, 2011 at 6:46 pm

  45. Beautiful, crystal clear photography. Your photos are of a quality one rarely sees. I think because they somehow capture what the eye sees, over what the camera sees. Poetic.

    February 7, 2011 at 6:08 pm

  46. louisa

    i think if not for your photographs i would not have noticed these neither if i passed them by. beautiful work.

    February 7, 2011 at 6:07 pm

  47. graffitti turned ugly things into beautiful ones and you captured it. Nice

    February 7, 2011 at 5:20 pm

  48. Dang, you have a good eye. You made graffiti look good. Well deserved FP! 🙂

    February 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm

  49. There is a certain beauty in graffiti that’s for sure. Amazing shots!

    February 7, 2011 at 4:23 pm

  50. Your photos are really fantastic and moving. I especially love the train, above.

    February 7, 2011 at 4:14 pm

  51. i love street art and love ur pics!

    February 7, 2011 at 4:07 pm

  52. Sir, Even without the graffiti,your photos are splendid! A great talent you have!

    February 7, 2011 at 4:02 pm

  53. Steven

    Fabulous shots, Chris! Nice frame and use of light with color. Happy this was front-paged, else they would have remained a secret to me. This is gonna get a FB bump in 3..2..1..

    February 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    • Right on Steven!

      Thanks for stopping by and for the bump.



      February 7, 2011 at 3:59 pm

  54. Those are awesome…great pics. The delivery van is really sharp…looks it was meant to be there!

    February 7, 2011 at 3:33 pm

  55. keithcookson

    cool pic’s

    February 7, 2011 at 3:31 pm

  56. very beautiful photos!! I love graffittis and murals!

    February 7, 2011 at 3:31 pm

  57. I took my daughter’s senior pics with a graffiti background and really loved the way they came out.
    I, also, took some photos of graffitis around here during this past summer. I was waiting to use it in a post myself. I love EVERYTHING about that 3rd image! So full of color, texture, the closeness, composition…!
    They’re all great. Really nice job!

    February 7, 2011 at 3:25 pm

  58. snowing hard here today. Very WHITE thanks for the color.

    February 7, 2011 at 3:03 pm

  59. Graffiti is something I seek out, for its beauty in little things. I like how you’ve got these here, especially that boy in the room. Looks like a very crazy place to have gone into!

    February 7, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    • The prairies have some very interesting buildings spread across the landscape, that farmhouse is no exception. Here is a post with more images from around and inside the same farmhouse. Thanks for your comment.

      February 7, 2011 at 3:49 pm

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  61. anonnickus

    One good piece of graffiti deserves a thousand pictures. Each of your pictures deserves the same. Popping!

    February 7, 2011 at 2:32 pm

  62. great shots!

    i love walking around and spotting some really awesome graffiti somewhere. such a pleasant surprise.

    February 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm

  63. I’m also a fan of graffiti. Nice pictures. Graffitis are a kind of art unique in their ways. Congrats on being fp

    February 7, 2011 at 1:41 pm

  64. So cool. I really like some the the graffiti I see. Some of them are really good artists.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:35 pm

  65. Great Photo’s

    the colors are amazing . Are the farmhouse and the train HDR?

    February 7, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    • Hi Simon,

      Thanks for your comment. The farmhouse bedroom was ambient light and I cooled the white balance and increased shadows in post. The hue and tone in that scene were very cool. I had been planning a post from the shoot at this farmhouse and your comment got the ball rolling. Here is a new post with a few more photographs from around that house.



      February 7, 2011 at 3:33 pm

      • Hi Chris,

        Thanks for the reply. These really are great photos and the rest of the farmhouse series are great too .

        just Amazing!

        February 8, 2011 at 9:31 pm

  66. I love good graffiti, if its something that makes me interested I will pay attention. If its not good then its just annoying.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:30 pm

  67. Nice post of art on the prairie both yours and the taggers!

    February 7, 2011 at 1:24 pm

  68. absolutly love this photography! i think it is so edgy. its pretty and dirty at the same time like white trash couture! love it

    February 7, 2011 at 1:18 pm

  69. I like the first shot a lot. Very Zen in it’s composition.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:05 pm

  70. i really like it!!!

    February 7, 2011 at 12:41 pm

  71. Some say graffiti isn’t art but I say different after seeing this. 😀

    February 7, 2011 at 12:30 pm

  72. this is coool 😀

    February 7, 2011 at 12:15 pm

  73. Nice pics. Coldplay is awesome.

    February 7, 2011 at 11:57 am

    • Coldplay is awesome. It’s a funny thing at times sharing a name with a famous person… but we named our daughter Kezia, not Apple.

      February 7, 2011 at 12:07 pm

  74. I have a graffiti photoblog post in the works too! I love yours though… really nice work.
    Congrats on getting freshly pressed!

    February 7, 2011 at 11:57 am

  75. Nice light…
    I knew a school project that included grafitti as part of youth culture and how this reflected in the city.
    But I didn’t imagine this could get so colourful…

    February 7, 2011 at 11:41 am

  76. Three words. Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful!

    February 7, 2011 at 11:39 am

  77. very dope. i love street art

    February 7, 2011 at 11:39 am

  78. You should come to Toronto…there’s TONS of graffiti photo opportunities here for you to take advantage of. lol.

    Beautiful photos and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! 🙂

    February 7, 2011 at 11:27 am

  79. The truck was my fav!

    February 7, 2011 at 11:22 am

  80. Love the bedroom pic… the contrast between the “boy drawing” on the wall with the otherwise dilapidated room…

    February 7, 2011 at 11:20 am

  81. Great shots, Chris. The abandoned farmhouse has atmosphere. What are the other shots like ? Old buildings tell stories. Well done.

    February 7, 2011 at 11:18 am

  82. Awesome blog post you got here! I love the pictures and your blog theme too. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    February 7, 2011 at 11:14 am

  83. Love the first shot. Great color and beautiful simplicity of design.

    February 7, 2011 at 11:13 am

  84. Love your site…. This post is really cool! Thank you!!!

    February 7, 2011 at 11:13 am

  85. nice 😀 at first i thought there would be more, but the selection is really really nice!
    Love the one in the bedroom hehe 🙂 great pics!

    February 7, 2011 at 11:11 am

  86. I like the Pinnochio boy.

    February 7, 2011 at 11:08 am

  87. intersting. the art is so much more “rustic” than what’s in NYC.
    did you use filters/gradients for the photos?

    February 7, 2011 at 11:04 am

    • Hi Catherine,

      I used a circular polarizer with a warming filter (Singh Ray) when I was shooting the red stairs, the van and the railcar.

      Thanks for visiting.


      February 7, 2011 at 1:07 pm

  88. awesome photographs

    February 7, 2011 at 11:03 am

  89. Love the rail car. Beautiful colors.

    February 7, 2011 at 11:00 am

  90. I find graffiti and street art to be a great subculture and undercurrent. I’m curious as to the connections between these kinds of art and the more “appropriate” modern art scene.

    February 7, 2011 at 10:52 am

  91. Haunting shots of the world we never stop to notice.

    February 7, 2011 at 10:52 am

  92. Great pictures, good eye for detail. Thanks for sharing.

    February 7, 2011 at 10:39 am

  93. We have an alley in my town called Arty Alley that the city has sanctioned specifically for graffiti. Of course I wonder if it can be considered graffiti if it is sanctioned. Nonetheless, I love all the color. I don’t always like the art. But all the color — love it.

    February 7, 2011 at 10:36 am

  94. J Roycroft

    Good photography. I wish I could see a pic of a graphiti artist getting his just deserves. I imagine it would be very colorful. Congrats on FP

    February 7, 2011 at 10:31 am

  95. My favorite piece of yours is the railroad car. the saturation (if any was done) was done beautifully. and done very well. You defiently have a talent. 🙂


    February 7, 2011 at 10:30 am

  96. The rail cart graffiti was pleasant. Thanks for sharing!

    February 7, 2011 at 10:30 am

  97. I’m torn about these. Are they incredibly artistic and beautiful? Yes, and your photos are brilliant. But is it right to glorify graffiti? I’m not so sure.

    I just wish every community would erect a graffiti wall that would show off these amazing artists’ talents. And that the existence of such a community wall wouldn’t turn off these artists.

    February 7, 2011 at 10:22 am

    • Hi Mikalee,

      Thanks for your comments. I agree about the dichotomy apparent with some graffiti: it can be wonderful art but can be destruction of property – sometimes in the same piece. It breaks my heart when I see public artwork that has been covered in graffiti. I published these four because they did not destroy existing work or damage the look of a thriving location. I admit it is a slippery slope but, for me, these images don’t represent destruction, they speak to the abundance of creativity everywhere. I think graffiti walls are fantastic especially where there is a collaboration with the artistic community and the understanding that the walls are refreshed on some basis to allow for new work to be made without creating an overflow onto nearby buildings, artwork, etc.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    • Wow! I hadn’t even considered this angle when I replied to the flat-out beauty of these photographs- I think I was only admiring the art itself without judgement- in itself, a good thing!

      But I find myself whole-heartedly in agreement with you, concerning the concept of grafitti walls!

      However, let us not wax naieve- kids and punks will do as they do. If there is a legal, and socially acceptable wall, they will DEFY that notion, and find some other surface to scrawl on. It is kinda like a married judge sneaking around with young teenage male prostitutes- he knows it is illeagle, he knows he should not, he parts the law every step of the way in his courtroom…yet, he cannot contain himself. He must do this odd, illeagle, unlawful thing…it is a compulsion, and for youth, an expression of descension- a distate for societal more’s.

      So though I do not agree with defacing public property, I do agree with recording social and contemporary history, as it is happening now.

      February 7, 2011 at 8:35 pm

  98. The bird piece is perfectly simple and the composition is great!

    February 7, 2011 at 10:21 am

  99. interesting

    February 7, 2011 at 10:20 am

  100. Some interesting shorts – particularly the first one.

    February 2, 2011 at 5:27 am

    • Hi Avour,

      Thank you for visiting and for your comment.

      All the best,


      February 2, 2011 at 11:40 am

  101. Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes! These are very good, well taken, and the subject’s mesmerising. They’re all very good and the form in the first one is very enjoyable. Excellent.

    February 2, 2011 at 2:26 am

    • Hi Kolembo,

      I’m happy that you like these. The first one is my favourite too as I was able to compose it in a more involved manner than the other three.



      February 2, 2011 at 11:40 am

  102. Mom & Dad

    Your eye for the simplistic but unusual pulls to the heartstrings is incredible. Love Mom

    February 1, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    • Thank you – a kind and insightful comment.

      February 2, 2011 at 11:38 am

    • Beautiful colors…how on earth did you accomplish that? I mean the railroad car with blue/green stones beneath? Gorgeous. The abandoned bedroom was also a find. Great classic (of the future) art is being made here, and you are the artist noticing that. Thank you so much. I loved it.

      – Silky Sienna


      February 7, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    • Insomniac-Girl


      February 8, 2011 at 6:27 am

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