I began working on photograff.it back in June 2013 as a side project simply to find a creative outlet for two of my passion areas: photography and development. The subject of the combined media is graffiti and, in some small way, I pay homage to the real artists who make some amazing street art.
There are three major components to this project: photographs of street art that I have personally taken, geo-locations of the art that’s been photographed, and a means to tie the media and the data together in a consumer friendly manner (web site). I’ll probably spend a separate post here or on photograff.it detailing my technical approach and critical thinking on the hurdles to overcome.
Part of my challenge in this project has been picking the right platform to publish with the lowest barrier to entry, while still supporting enough flexibility to custom develop solutions to manage content. Additionally, I’ve had to overcome a number of technical hurdles with how to manage the geographical data for the photographs, currently without automatic geo-tagging from my DSLR.
The biggest challenge of all, however, has been my own self-defeating attitude and also a lack of time to really commit to the project. Working 15-20 minutes here and there doesn’t really cut it when there are dozens to hundreds of shots to edit. The development of the website and normalization of the EXIF data to appropriate for publishing and associating in some manner to maps while simultaneously presenting the photographs in an aesthetically pleasing format also presents a formidable challenge.
However, with all of that, I am still very driven to make this happen. The concept has been bouncing around my head for years, long before I actually put “pencil to paper” and just got a skeleton of a site running last summer. Since then, I’ve put in dozens of hours shooting and developing, but nothing substantial enough to feel like it’s really clicking. I still believe I’m close and not giving up on the project.
Even though there are already similar projects out there, and most famously the Google Cultural Institute street art project, I’m most excited to share my love of photography and development and maybe help to preserve some of the street art from paths less traveled. I may even learn some things along the way, not just about how to become a better photographer and developer, but how to continually improve prioritizing time-consuming tasks and projects under constrained conditions.