Tag Archives: photography

JR: Chronicles Saatchi Gallery Exhibition

One question I always flounder with is “Who do you think the up and coming future stars in street art are?”, like I have any idea about art picking!   The easier question is “Who has emerged?” and if there is one person who can’t be left out of that answer it is French artist JR.   JR: Chronicles at the Saatchi Gallery is a comprehensive examination of JR’s very impressive back catalogue of art on the streets.  Through a succession of rooms a large number of JR’s street projects are reprised, dissected and explained,  the best part of a couple of hours is recommended.

JR: Chronicles Gallery Art by Street Artist JR showing photos of JR's street art and installations

Portrait Of A Generation inside demolished building

JR’s artistic origins were as a not terribly stylish tagger in Paris who chances on a camera, takes some pretty cracking photos in fairly lairy sink estates dotted around Paris, print them out super cheap and pastes them up on the streets. Among the images is one of a young video maker surrounded by local “yoots”, that cameraman is now better known as the award winning director Ladj Ly and just to digress for a moment, watch Ladj Ly’s 2019 “Les Miserables”, it makes a superb companion to this exhibition as a semi fictional and unaffectionate look back to the environment that shaped JR’s early adult life.

JR: Chronicles Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Ladj Ly at Les Bosquets

If you haven’t spotted the jarring “trick of the eye” in the Les Bosquets photo, if you find it inexcusably intimidating well you’re not alone, JR tells us that when that photo was pasted on the side of the Tate Modern in 2008, the Director initially refused the image as he thought it was a gun as well.  That was the point, JR was challenging your inclination to jump to racist conclusions.

JR photo of Ladj Li holding camera like a gun at Tate Modern Street Art Exhibition 2008

JR: Tate Modern, 2008

Banksy’s first London exhibition was an un-authorised street take-over in 2001, JR adopted the same tactic in the same year.  His “Expo 2 Rue”, translated as “Sidewalk Gallery”, involved guerrilla pasting his photos on building site hoardings and to add emphasis to his paste ups he sprayed picture frames around the paste ups linked together by straight lines.  JR: Chronicles has a little humorous play with the form of JR’s Expo 2 Rue concept, a blown up photo of an Expo 2 Rue installation incorporates a video screen framed where the paste up was. “Tres droll” he probably wouldn’t say.

JR: Chronicles Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR – Expo 2 Rue

The scale of JR’s achievements transcend the boundary between street art and fine art, appealing as readily to art world snobs as to people who would never normally contemplate attending an art exhibition.  This can perhaps be appreciated by splitting his endeavours into three component parts, vaguely and inadequately summarised (my inadequacy, not the exhibition’s) as Idea, Execution and Documentation.

JR: Chronicles Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR au Louvre et le Secret de la Grande Pyramid

The ideas and concepts are the things that earn JR a place among the giants of contemporary art in the “proper” art world and galleries like Saatchi.  JR has completed a very impressive number of major projects in what is still a comparatively young career.  The hallmark of them all is quality and originality, from his Expo 2 Rue at age 17 to Women Are Heroes and Gun Chronicles by way of Wrinkles Of the City, Portrait of A Generation and more, a mere 7 huge rooms at Saatchi’s Kings Road art palace is barely sufficient.

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Projects

If JR has a secret cellar to which failures are condemned, surely there must be some, it is well hidden.  The execution of them is undoubtedly thoroughly thought through, one of his charming trademarks is corralling local volunteer’s enthusiastic assistance in putting up his large paste up projects.  For those who may have no idea how printed street art can be created on such magnificent scale various display cases, models and prop do great job of lifting the veil on those production secrets.

Work In Progress JR photo of Ladj Li holding camera like a gun at Tate Modern Street Art Exhibition 2008

JR Work In Progress, Tate Modern 2008

How do you print out the images?  They are made from continuous sheets of paper 36 inches wide and in one of the films you see an architect’s printer spewing paper like a long string of spaghetti.  How many sheets?  In one of the vitrines are JR’s working images with the construction lines drawn by hand which divides the image into the stripes for printing and ultimately for putting the strips in the right order,  a laden trolley laden demonstrates how many rolls of paper might go into one of those epic paste ups.

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: work in progress

There’s nothing quite so unpredictable as the public which coupled with JR’s “suck it and see” approach to putting up installations in locations where authorities are hostile (Israel, USA border) has given him a wealth of anecdotes which are well with tuning into, you can access his spoken word stories online away from the gallery.  Treat it like a podcast, you can for example access it using the QR code further down this page or it is currently available on youtube.

You might not find the “process” insights interesting, poor you, but scrutiny of those aspects can reveal secrets hidden in plain sight.  The image of a tea party JR arranged to take place through the USA Mexico border fence is well known, JR explains in one of the videos that on the Mexican side they sit at a table; on the USA side the party was “guerrilla style” as the artist was denied permission so the party on the American side takes place not on a table but a printed canvas unfurled and passed through from the Mexican side.  My chin dropped.

JR: Migrants, Mayra, Picnic across the Border, Quadrichromie, Tecate, Mexico – USA, 2017

JR’s contact sheets from earlier analogue photography projects are displayed in several vitrines in various rooms.  In the contact sheet of the images of Ladj Ly holding his camera like a gun the famous image is the very first one on the sheet, it captures the ominous energy of the kids surrounding Ladj just at that moment as they clamoured to be in the photo, in the other photos the kids were basically posturing and with the absence of spontaneity the menace becomes cartoonised.

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Portrait Of A Generation Contact Sheet

The third pillar of JR’s enterprise is the element that allows JR to produce stunning books and exhibitions.  It’s the documentation, JR takes brilliant photographs of JR’s photography projects!

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Portrait Of A Generation

JR attributes his trademark hat and glasses to the early need to avoid being identified by a local mayor who wanted to sue him.   He does however explain his art to camera in a comprehensive and articulate way but always in hat and glasses.  For someone so preoccupied with anonymity shyness is not an issue!

street artist JR in front of the Inside Out Travelling Photo Booth

JR and Inside Out photo booth at Somerset House, 2013

JR does not sign his paste ups though sometimes the artist is unavoidably present at a microscopic scale, check the reflection in the subject’s eyes in, for example, the Nairobi train!

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Women Are Heroes, Kibera, Kenya

JR’s projects are concerned with humanity, often illustrating the unnecessary impact that boundaries, borders and schisms in society have on humanity, or should that be the impact the unnecessary borders have?  In essence he probes and highlights people’s impact on people.

Child peeps over US Mexico Border by Street Artist JR

GIANTS, Kikito and the Border Patrol, Tecate, Mexico – USA

The humanity becomes a teeming multitude in the Chronicles project, JR photographs up to a 1,000 people in basically the way they would like to be photographed then collages the individuals into a huge mural.  There is a tendency for the impact to resemble a hyper realistic nightmare or disaster movie.  JR toys with your own interpretations of the evidence of your own eyes, is what you see really a violent disorder, or is it actually a community out playing and dancing?

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Chronicles de Clichy-Montfermeil (detail)

Another thing that the show achieves which you can’t really replicate on a book or in a tiny screen is to impress with the scale and the level of detail in the augmented reality Chronicles.  Download the JR – net app then point your phone at the relevant Chronicles mural causes a pointer to skip from person to person in the mural and through the magic of multi media you can hear that persons’ story as recorded by JR.  Gun Chronicles occupies the whole of a large wall and incorporates 245 different viewpoints on the gun issue.  JR avoids casting judgement, pro and anti Right To Carry folk are included and your reaction to the arguments tells you all you need to know about yourself rather than the issue.  Good luck on completing the dive into the stories of all 1,128 citizens in The Chronicles Of New York City!

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Chronicles Of New York

The opening of JR: Chronicles in June was accompanied by another iteration in several London locations of JR’s Inside Out project.  This manifests as a travelling photo booth in a van modified to look like a polaroid camera where, after a long queue, your photo is taken and printed out on a large sheet and pasted on the ground like a massive outdoor version of a school yearbook if you went to that kind of school, not me!

Street Art Tour Guide Dave Stuart from Shoreditch Street Art Tours participates in JR's Inside Out photography project at Somerset House London 2013

JR Inside Out Project, Somerset House 2013

The same van stars in JR’s film “Faces Places” made with the acclaimed French director the acclaimed late Agnes Varda (click HERE for trailer).

Tour Guide Dave Stuart collects photo from JR's Inside Out photo booth at Somerset House, 2013

The Inside Out photo booth at Somerset House, 2013

That segues us nicely into an appreciation of how JR’s story is really like a street art fairytale.  The promise of street art is that anyone can present their art to a public audience, you don’t need an art degree, critical approval or gallery acceptance, you create your own art world by placing your art on the streets.  Direct from you the artist to the consumer, no middleman necessary.  JR has basically parlayed this circumventing the art system system from untutored photography to hijacking wall space and from there to projects in Israel and Palestine meeting with military disapproval, to exhibitions in posh London galleries and films with the luminati of the film world.  No formal art education or art world blessing required.  Know anyone else who did that?

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Face To Face Contact Sheet

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

JR: Face To Face, Separation Wall

One more thing in a show where so much effort has gone into making the artist look effortlessly cool, the QR codes are functioning pieces of art.  No doubt if I ask a young person I will find yet again I am ages, like months behind the times dude.

Gallery Art by Street Artist JR shows photos of JR's street art

QR Code Art (go on, test it)

The show dissects it’s subject into 7 themed zones, in each an idea and to a greater or lesser extent the process is revealed.  The whole show is the manifestation of the third dimension of JR’s activity, the documentation, it really earns that title “Chronicles”.

JR: Chronicles

Saatchi Gallery 4 June – 3 October 2021

Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London, SW3 4RY

Booking essential: tickets


JR’s website

Graffoto review of JR’s 2015 exhibition “Crossing” at Lazarides Gallery

Photos of JR’s photos of JR’s Photos by Dave Stuart

New York, Street Art, Photography, Katherine Lorimer, Luna Park, book, book launch, Frost Gallery

Street Art Book Launch This Sat

What has New York street art got to do with Shoreditch?  Well loads actually, as New York is essentially the birthplace of graffiti who’s travelling mutant offspring led to Shoreditch becoming the spiritual home of street art.


D*Face in NY, photo by Luna Park


New York hosts a glorious city-wide panorama of ever changing street art and graffiti and in my opinion its foremost photographic recorder is Katherine Lorimer, known to many as Luna Park.


Vermibus (Fr) by Luna Park


For close to a decade since I discovered her photographs on Flickr, Luna Park’s coverage of the New York street art and graffiti scene has been a daily “must see” for me.  Luna has (at last!) produced a photography book covering the full range of New York’s street art and graffiti scene. Across 192 pages of lush exciting goodness,  Luna’s taste in street art and graffiti will ensure that this book contains the very very best New York has witnessed over the past decade or more and will be beautifully photographed and laid out.


welded iron graffiti, Shiesta, by Luna Park


Katherine’s book launches this Saturday, October 22nd in New York with a launch event hosted at 17 Frost Gallery in parallel with a 10th anniversary showcase for Ad Hoc Gallery.   NY readers should definitely make this a “don’t miss” event in their diary.

sheryo yok

Sheryo Yok by Luna Park


Folks from other parts of the world may have to satisfy themselves with obtaining a copy from their favourite book store but if you are a lover of street art, don’t miss out on this book.

wk interact

WK INteract by Luna Park


I have taken the liberty of linking to a few of Luna Park’s recent photos from her Flickr account, not from the book.


Book Launch Details:

Date: October 22nd, 6pm – 11pm

Location: Frost Gallery, 17 Frost St, Brooklyn, NY 11211, United States


A little “PS” – the Ad Hoc show should be worth seeing, Garrison Buxton, the guy behind Ad Hoc Gallery which in those days had a physical presence as one of NY’s leading urban art galleries had an exhibition in London’s Pure Evil Gallery in 2008.  I recall Garrison had firm views on the need for street art to take a political stance. This show at 17 Frost sounds like it should be interesting, another reason to go!



New 616 art in Shoreditch

Yesterday at about lunchtime I bumped into a figure wearing a kagoule with strings drawn tight around the hood and a 7 month “just back from the Arctic me” beard poking out through the face port.  I greeted the street art legend 616 as he tugged a large wheeled box down Brick Lane.  It might have contained paint; 616 was vague about where he might be heading and I am sure would have been even more vague about the box’s contents.  This is the way it should be.

This morning, Seven Stars Car Park sported a new piece of art by 616.

London, Shoreditch, Street art, tours, photography, 616, spraypaint, seven stars

616, graff by Vibes RT

A gorgeous multi layered piece arranged across successive stub walls guides the eye to a new set of characters on top a wall, beyond which after a couple of intervening properties lies the graveyard around Christ Church Spitalfields.

From a distance the characters appear to be masquerading as tombstones but closer inspection reveals that eyes and mouths are present as usual.  What to me is not usual is the 6 eyed character on the wall, it was only last year that I noticed 616 introduce a four eyed character for the first time.


I often praise 616 for the inventiveness of his street art and racking my brains I can’t of too many other artists who create single pieces of street art spread over several surfaces (but, see below), This work he created yesterday refines and repeats a similar piece of work he painted over the same walls last year:


Knowing 616’s perpetual quest for new mediums and the way he often submerges his identity beneath cryptic clues alluding to the moniker 616, it wouldn’t surprise me if he figures out a way to do a mono eyed character in his leaf shape style and then presents a mono eyed character flanked by two six eyed characters.  Ground, gauntlet…….  c’mon 616!

Here is a piece by Zabou that we looked at on the street art tour this morning, another example of an artist using two different surfaces in a single piece of street art; there are also others that have used this corner shutter configuration.

tn_DSC_1559 copy

All photos: Dave Stuart aka Nolionsinengland

Shoreditch Street Art by 616 old and new

London street artist 616 has been a long-standing favourite among the guests of Shoreditch Street Art Tours, noted for his imaginative and ever changing use of materials.  The guests on this morning’s tour came across an intriguing 616 paste up.  The characteristic leaf design with tribal stylings is present and correct; nothing is out of the ordinary with a paste up either, so the thing that caught our attention was the stippled surface created from what looked like a white silicon mastic.

London,Shoreditch,East End,Street Art,Street Artist,Graffiti,616,photographer,photography,tour

Braille street art

The effect is to give the paste up an unusual rough finish, rub your hands over the artwork, you feel scratches, knots, lumps and shapes – then try doing that with a piece of art in a gallery!  616 art for the blind anyone?


London,Shoreditch,East End,Street Art,Street Artist,Graffiti,616,photographer,photography,tour

Braille street art

Check out a small cross section of other fabulous methods 616 has used to get up on Shoreditch walls in the past 2 years, including painted pistachio nut shells, found furniture, tar and feather, squeezy bottle, slate stones, graffiti paint scrapings, post office stickers…there are actually so many in our photo colection that we gave up trying to write them all down, enjoy the slide show!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Street Art, photography, Shoreditch, Street Art Tours, East End, London,Clet Abraham

Shoreditch Street Art Tours Guest Photographs

Shoreditch’s street art is incredibly photogenic, lending itself to sensational colourful images whether you are using a camera phone or a full frame ultra high spec digital SLR.

On a recent tour Robert Benson brought along a lovely Nikon which happens to be the same camera I use when I am out photographing street art on days when I am not leading street art tours.  Robert has sent over a selection of the lovely photographs that he took on his visit and Shoreditch Street Art Tours is delighted to share them with you, thank you Robert.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photographs: Robert Benson

Shoreditch,London,Street Art,Tour, night time,photography,

Night Time Street Art Photography

As we settle into Winter mode, one thing worth a cheer is that we can head out for some night time photography and still get home in time for dinner!  This week Shoreditch Street Art Tours extended its Street Art Photography programme to offer night time photography tours.

Shoreditch,London,Street Art,Tour, night time,photography,

Night time is when the photographic opportunities are at their most exhilarating.  It is the time when this clandestine street art is created.  Night time photography captures the completely changed ambience that settles on our urban landscape.  Streets that bustle by day become deserted by night, the lighting and the shadows totally change.  Long exposures result in people ghosting through shots.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We were delighted to be joined by Nico who wanted to take photographs and movie clips.  Lending him the Shoreditch Street Art Tours’ Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod, Nico captured some stunning night time photography.

Shoreditch,London,Street Art,Tour, night time,photography,


We will be offering further night time photography tours on both a fixed schedule and by bespoke private arrangement.  Groups will be small, no more than 4 photographers.  Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line for further information if the schedule does not have a date that suits you.


All photos: NoLionsInEngland

Thanks to Nico for permission to include photos with him in


Shoreditch Street Art Photography

Street art in Shoreditch is incredibly photogenic and guests on the Shoreditch street art tours are encouraged and helped to take better photographs by our world reknown and exhibited street art photographer-guide.  Some of our guests don’t need any assistance at all and we are delighted to show the work of Urbanshooters who took these shots on a Shoreditch Street Art Tour in the past week.  Check out the detail, the narrow depth of field and the colour tones Urbanshooters has found in Jonesy’s castings on brick – beautiful.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Details of the Shoreditch Street Art Photography Workshops will be announced shortly, sign up to our newsletter HERE to be sure of receiving the update.


All photographs Urbanshooters

Shoreditch Street Art Photography Workshop – Sameena Jarosz beats the challenge

Sameena Jarosz took a load of fantastic photos in Shoreditch, London on our Street Art Photography Workshop on 25 Aug.  After going through a whole bunch of  tips and hints on how we might interpret a broad variety of street art photography opportunities, we take to the Shoreditch streets for about 90 minutes to stroll around trying out a variety of techniques.  Just for fun, participants are given a flyer with a challenge to photograph six specific situations, such as a reflected piece of street art, street art with an artist in shot…and more.  Sameena has produced a superb set, I particularly like this reflection shot which also ticks the “passerby” challenge too.

Shoreditch London Street Art tour workshop photography reflection roa

photo credit: Sameena Jarosz

You should check out Sam’s great blog post with her full set of pics here.

One thing photographs taken by the participants reinforce it is that not only does the street art constantly change, there are also so many different great ways to see each individual piece.  For instance, after checking out Sam’s on her blog, take a peek at Will Edgecombe’s taken on the same workshop, same day.