"You sir are what is wrong with this city." / by Greg Gallinger

Apparently Winnipeg Free Press readers aren't the biggest fans of my photography. According to two commenters I'm guilty of promoting criminal behaviour because I took photographs of graffiti.

Personally I like graffiti. I don't endorse defacing someone else's property (like their home, car, etc.) but I like graffiti in public spaces. Graffiti adds life to an otherwise sterile alleyway.

iWinnipeg writes:

"...defacing a traffic control sign is a criminal offense. I bet you didn't call anyone about the damage you witnessed so it could be repaired?"

No, I didn't. I don't believe it is not my responsibility to tattle on rogue artists, nor do I think that would be a productive use of resources. Graffiti, like it or not, is part of the complex fabric of urban life.

Companies dedicate millions of dollars to advertising that occupies almost every area of public space. Golden Arches, sexist billboards, and gluttonous images encouraging us to consume, all plastered along the city skyline, yet they are tacitly accepted.

Absurdly our society says a stencil on a weather stained brick wall is a crime. Some people seem to feel threatened by graffiti because it shatters the illusion of their perfect encapsulated world. Everything must be clean, orderly, and homogenous.

I like the parts of cities that break from homogeny. I like to know that real people inhabit these places, that they aren't just pretty pictures on a postcard.