Photographing Street Art in Melbourne, Australia


A beautiful street art image of the Hindu god Ganesh in Hosier Lane, Melbourne.


Do you like street art? If you’re like me you love street art and hate tagging. One is art, the other vandalism.

Melbourne, where I currently reside, has a vibrant street art culture and Hosier Lane is one of the city's most well known locations to create and view street art.

How I Photographed The Elephant God

This painting features the Hindu deity Ganesha (i.e., Ganesh), commonly known in western countries as the Elephant God. It had faded somewhat by the time I photographed it.

I’ve processed the original file to bring back the sense of life and color I feel it would have once radiated.

Not long after I made my photo it was tagged, again and again, and faded to the extent that it was painted over with a totally new work.

Thus its life came to an end, which is a shame, but that’s very much the nature of street art, particularly in Hosier Lane, which provides an ever-changing canvas for artists and visitors alike.

However, by photographing the original artwork, I feel I've helped it live on.

Butterfly Face Graffiti, Hosier Lane, Melbourne

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When composing and processing the image I worked to enhance the sense of balance within the artwork.

The raised arms do this, but you’ll also notice the arrangement of colors throughout the frame and how the yellows and greens, in particular, are evenly spread throughout the image of Ganesha.

This technique allows the eye to easily move from one area of similar color to another. The result is a harmonious and pleasing image.

And the dance continues.

Street Art depicting a highly detailed and vividly colored monster in Hosier Lane, Melbourne.

Those of you who’ve journeyed to India would have seen the myriad of religious iconography that appears on Hindu temple walls.

Newly painted works are often extremely vivid in color. Yet I suspect it’s the older, faded ones that are probably more attractive to most visitors from western countries.

Beauty is Everywhere, Make Sure You Enjoy It

The best quality street images move me almost as much as stained glass windows, which I think are incredibly beautiful.

My favorite pub has beautiful stained glass windows, as do my favorite churches. One I can reach through a leisurely river walk, some of the others involve overseas travel to get to.

In some ways pubs and churches are of equal beauty, dependent upon the light that shines through the windows. And I think the same is true for street art. It's light that brings it to life.

I enjoy photographing street art and always feel good when I do.

Unlike stained glass windows, street art has a limited life and our photos help preserve the memory of the original work and also bring it to life in new and, sometimes, profound ways.

But photography doesn’t have to finish in the camera. And let's face it, faded street art can often benefit from a makeover in Lightroom or Photoshop.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru