In every issue of MID, we give a talented photographer free reign to explore the modern world through his or her lens. We hope you’re as inspired as we are by the possibilities and perspectives offered in these professional takes from Greg Friedler’s project, “Residue” — the re-purposing of urban signage and urban communication. “Residue” consists of original photographic images made of tiny slivers of graffiti tags, residue left behind from the creation of these graffiti tags or any given cover up of the graffiti tag by differing authorities.
Canvases include, but are not limited to: fuse boxes; signs of all shapes, sizes and functions; newspaper stands; doors; trash cans; poles; post office boxes; porta potties; dumpsters; or any other outdoor surface real estate.
The graffiti tags are ciphered urban scrawls, in public view, yet functioning as secretive autographs, meant to leave one’s mark or mark one’s turf. Within these ciphered scrawls and other visual fodder, lies another world of painterly terrain ripe with artistic possibilities. So what began as an ephemeral, encrypted personal brand, becomes an amazing opportunity to make original photographic imagery that resemble abstract expressionist paintings.
Friedler is best known for his photo-anthropological studies of people, clothed and unclothed, in New York, Los Angeles, London and Las Vegas. He has had two films made about his photography books, one in 1999 for the BBC, while shooting Naked London, and one in 2007 for Showtime, while shooting Naked Las Vegas. He is working with Spanish filmmaker Guillermo Roques on a short documentary film which examines his process of shooting the “Residue” project. Below are more samples of his pieces from the series. Enjoy!