Graffiti, Ushuaia, Argentina

Graffiti in Ushuaia, ArgentinaPanasonic DMC-LX5 camera Exposure Details: 1/80 second @ f8 ISO 100

Graffiti, by its very nature, is divisive. Many people hate graffiti, associating it with crime and delinquency. Others consider graffiti to be a contemporary art form that expresses the dissatisfaction experienced by one of society's sub-cultures. Personally I love what I deem to be quality graffiti and I enjoy both looking and photographing it, particularly when its displayed in an appropriate place. Mind you, put some explicit and poorly produced examples on my front gate and you'd get a somewhat different response.

The City of Melbourne has numerous lanes and alleyways set aside for the production and display of quality graffiti. On your next visit you might like to check some of them out. Here's a link.

This particular image was made in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. It's right at the bottom of Argentina and is a departure point for cruise ships taking tours down to Antarctica.

The image was made of the front door of a premises right in the middle of the town's busy shopping district. While it had a nightclub feel about it I really don't know what kind of business operated behind those doors. In fact its quite possible the business that had been there was no longer operating and that state of no-activity left it vulnerable to defacement.

Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires, can be quite a dangerous city and tourists are well advised to take care which areas they enter, especially at night. There certainly seemed to be an air of dissatisfaction evident in many of the urban poor during my stay. I witnessed a very raucous and quite aggressive demonstration on my way home from a night out.

Being a relatively prosperous town, Ushuaia seemed a more positive place. Although the drive in from the airport showed some pretty run down parts of town. As far as the main tourist area this graffiti clad entrance was the only public protest I noticed during my stay.

It's a pretty graphic image, not just because of the social justice commentary contained within, but also due to the predominantly high contrast of the scene. By opting for a black and white rendering the grit and grunge within the scene is further emphasised. I added a subtle warm tone to the image. With luck that will provide this otherwise sad and desolate scene with a sense of hope, albeit frail. Because, in the end, hope is all we have.

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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru