This is Deb. Like any good artist, she puts enough of her own sass and color into her work, that she practically blends in with it. I landed in SF last week, and upon strolling through the Mission, I saw her murals everywhere and couldn't help asking, "who is DEB?" I had to meet her.
I was lucky enough to get a response when I reached out, and within days of doing so, we spent a good portion of the afternoon in a great portion of the city (the Castro). We chatted, she painted, I photographed. She is quite the talented Aussie-accented beaut. Seriously.... try to do what she does with a spray can, and unless you've practiced for over ten years like she has, you just won't.
It was wicked to see Deb get approached often. Just with my short(ish) visit, a super smitten guy asked her on a date, a little kid said "this is the FUNNEST art I've EVER seen!!", a man in near-tears thanked her for creating the proposal piece; and a woman practically screeched her tires, backed up her car, parked, got out,and walked about a block with her daughter to give their compliments. Total magnet!
We talked about dudes, foods and occupational hazards (such as the much dreaded and torturous tendonitis); the positive attention she received for her recent monumental proposal piece; and the all too known and often overused photo filters.
As any artist would agree, seeing a stranger take their work and slap a big filter, altering all of the original color, changes the whole initial emotional message AKA the relationship that the artist had with the piece. It hurts! I can relate with some of my work, and its happened before, but it was super interesting to hear it from the painter's mouth.
Don't get me wrong, there are color edits & corrections, contrast tweeks and small bits of magic. Every photographer is entitled those. Hell, in the name of personal expression, heavy filters can be absolutely GORGEOUS. But there is a time and a place. And when it comes to documenting other artists' work, its so super key to keep its integrity intact. Its also just purely respectful.
So, like a makeupless face, its hard to face world so raw. Some people use a little, some a lot, and there's room for us all. But when the final piece relies less on post process, so much more thought can be put into the creation of the photo-taking itself. Beautiful skin requires a healthy regimen, diet, moisturizers, and more. Great photos require attention to light, composition, emotion, and much more.
As photographers, we have to pay attention to everything from weather, to the angle of the sun, and the shadows of the buildings, to 'accurately' relay what we see, (which is subjective). But in cases like this, where beautiful work such as Deb's just screams to be shared, authenticity needs to remain intact for the artist and the capturer. And there are plenty of ways to express yourself through a piece without altering its original intention.