Discussion Topic: Street Art and Photography

6-ft photo mural on Mulberry and Prince

In 2011, the French street artist JR launched a global art project called Inside Out Project that uses photographic images to address issues of social identity.  Everyone is invited to participate.  Individuals or groups send in their black and white photographic portraits and JR sends back photographic posters to be displayed in the home communities and online.  Some of these posters are also visible in New York City.  At the moment, a 6-foot photographic mural from the North Dakota Native American series is located by Mulberry and Prince Streets in downtown Manhattan.

The Inside Out website‘s official statement tells us:

INSIDE OUT is a large-scale participatory art project that transforms messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work. Everyone is challenged to use black and white photographic portraits to discover, reveal and share the untold stories and images of people around the world. These digitally uploaded images will be made into posters and sent back to the project’s co-creators for them to exhibit in their own communities. People can participate as an individual or in a group; posters can be placed anywhere, from a solitary image in an office window to a wall of portraits on an abandoned building or a full stadium. These exhibitions will be documented, archived and viewable virtually.

Explore the Inside Out Project website and watch the short trailer.

Trailer for the Inside Out Project

What do you think of this democratic project that combines street art and photography?  What do you think would be a good idea for a photographic wall project in your community?

This is the last Discussion Topic that I am posting for the course.  You are welcome to comment/post up until Sunday May 20th.  

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12 Responses to Discussion Topic: Street Art and Photography

  1. zee215 says:

    This project seem pretty cool to me, kind of reminds me of The Family of Man exhibition by Edward Steichen. This project takes the concept a bit further by making our community an art gallery. While the project by Edward Steichen was to show that we are all one/same, this project lets the participants decide what the message will be.

    I live in a very diverse immigrant area and a good photographic wall project in my community would be to have posters of places where the people in the community come from. Something to remind them of their homeland when walking by would be an interesting sight. These people have moved across the world for a better life but I’m sure still miss the country they come from.

    • sarah52 says:

      I think Edward Steichen The family of Man was about a man’s journey throughout his life. And The Inside Out Project speaks about how diverse our society is right now and there should not be any discrimination between anyone. They do not post any specific type of people or their style on their photos. Rather they have different types of people posing different expressions to show we are not different than others. We do, say and act like everybody else, and this project’s main concept is to keep reminding us of that.

      • sarah52 says:

        I am sorry but I was wrong about Steichen’s family of man. And I realized family of man and inside out project’s main motive is similar.

  2. superartist says:

    Freedom of speech is an awesome right and everyone has the liberty of free speech so I think that our community’s and the people living there have the opportunity for their voices to be heard I believe that this project inside out is very unique and very artistic I also see it as a type of movement that allows ordinary people to express the way they feel about an issue,world, government,etc whatever comes to mind . With their pictures they are able to present a piece of conceptual art that highlights the emotions of the individuals photo. Its very interesting how the
    pictures have to be in black and white I am surprised that they didn’t allow photos to be produced in color .

    This is my post!

    • aleckzzz23 says:

      I think there is nothing to be surprised about the fact that they print all the posters in black and white. There are couple of possible reasons. First of all, printing in black and white is the simplest way to unify all the posters and make them look like the series of same artist works, even though the posters produced by different people. Another reason is to make those photographs, made by armatures, looking more artistic and stylish. And the last most likely reason, is that it is a lot cheaper to print in black and white, especially for posters that sizes.

  3. mzambrana says:

    Project inside out sounds like an amazing project. You barely hear people involving their community with photography. Actually, photography is only seen through magazines and our family album. Not very often, communities are asked to participate in a creation that affect them. I deffinetly like this project. The only thing that I have noticed is that it is very often that photography projects are spoken about in public. Very little we discuss photography. For these reason I like that they are involving the two and are making abvious to society that photography is part of us. I think it would be nice to have pictures of the community . For example, families or even the symbols of love, friendship or family.

  4. JoshuaStL says:

    The Inside Out Project is pretty cool. It’s a great way to put a face, not only on the local community, but on the ever growing ever evolving photographic community. Making it democratic gives it a personal touch as well.

    Well, I live in Harlem, It’s a very eclectic community. Lots of different people with different ideas and different backgrounds. I think a project that captures what unites us would be good for the community to enjoy. Something light not too deep like the music we all listen to. No matter how different, music has pretty much the same effect on all of us. So maybe a project that focuses on our relationship to music and each other.

  5. ahna0812 says:

    this project is very cool. and very successful. this project is very huge and will attract people that walking by. i had seem this kind of project around NYC, and this is like an art garally outside the street. i think this is a very good idea for a photographic wall project in my community, because it will help me know more about people projects and appreciate people work.

  6. aleckzzz23 says:

    The idea of collecting photographs of people from all over the world and sending back huge posters is pretty good but not that original. Also the creative component of the inside out project is questionable. Yes, it is huge black and white portraits of different people, and it does bring the attention. But what stands behind that? If I saw one of those posters on the street I would not get any idea of what does it mean. Therefore I would not declare that this project will turn the world inside out.

    • Jian Huang says:

      i agree with you, collecting photographs of people and sending back huge posters is not that original. But i don’t think think it’s originality they are selling, but more like service.

  7. sarah52 says:

    I think this democratic project is really aspiring. Combining street art and photography makes people to believe that the models or persons on the murals are not someone else, they are the people like them. Picture can speak thousand words, and one photo can make a difference in a society. The whole project is in black and white yet it speaks life is beyond any race and culture. And I think this would be an amazing idea in my community as well since we are surrounded by different types of people, and to show we might be different in color or race but at the end of the day we are same; made out of flesh and bones.

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