University of Tasmania
whole-thomashow-thesis-2012.pdf (17.32 MB)

The photography of street art as a representation of place

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posted on 2023-05-26, 01:47 authored by Thomashow, JE
This research project explores how the photography of street art can contribute to the understanding of place. This argument is supported through an examination of techniques and concepts utilized by a range of photographers who have practiced social documentation. The research aims to demonstrate how the photography of street art can reflect social, cultural, and natural identities that are unique to specific environments. The background to this project is located in the tradition of social documentary in the work of mid 20th century photographers such as Walker Evans, Robert Frank, and Manuel Alvarez Bravo. The exegesis explores these artists' abilities to capture the vernacular elements that characterize specific locations. The exegesis discusses the arrangement of elements within individual photographs, as well as the arrangement of the photographs in series, and specifically how these strategies provide a social and political commentary. The project is further contextualized by a range of contemporary color photographers including Joel Sternfeld, Steven Shore, Jeff Laio, and Jeff Whetstone, demonstrating the potential for color to contribute to an exploration of place within social documentary photography. The result of the research is a collection of photographs that describe differences in a range of social landscapes by comparing styles and techniques in street art from three different countries: Australia, South Africa, and the United States. The thesis exhibition consists of a series of large scale photographic prints that depict street artworks in their surrounding context, including people and natural or built environments. In these photographs, street art is the dominant form of vernacular expression. It embodies the visual characteristics of environments undergoing pronounced change. These photographs form a narrative concerned with the social, political, and natural identities of a place.


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  • Unpublished

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Copyright 2012 the author

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  • Open

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