Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

The John Lennon Wall In Prague

The John Lennon Wall is a wall in Prague, Czech Republic, that has been filled with Lennon inspired graffiti since the 1980s. The message it transmits is that of peace and love, and the politics that go along with that. Under the communist regime, there would often appear grievances in writing on the wall.

The original wall art and John Lennon pictures are now buried under layers of paint, but the message remains the same as layers continue to be added.  I found this small part of the wall to carry a strong message worth photographing!

John Lennon Wall I

There are also a good number of small bands that come to play and sing by the wall. While I was there I made a fun thirty second video of a group doing just that. But it seems difficult to put the video here in the post, as I would have to host it somewhere first. I did, however, upload it to my Instagram page, (the link is direct to the video), so feel free to have a quick look there if you're interested. Feel free to follow me there as well :)

More Molecules

It turns out that all murals are not the same when it comes to photographing small sections of the whole. In my post where I explained my thoughts behind this "Molecules Of Art"  project, I showed several examples from one mural I had photographed. That mural was painted onto a relatively smooth concrete wall with a very thick layer of paint. The next mural I have been working with has a very different substrate. In this case the mural is painted on a very rough and textured concrete wall with a thin layer of paint, making the texture of the wall itself become integrated into the mural.

In some ways the integrated texture makes the abstract nature of the image harder to work with, as I would prefer to direct the viewer's mind to the colors and shapes. On the other hand, maybe there is something different here. Maybe the texture just becomes part of the experience. 

Needless to say, I am still playing with these ideas.


Mural Abstract 4    © Howard Grill


Molecules Of Art?

There is an idea I have had for a photographic project that has been nagging at me for several years. I keep trying to ignore it because I don't know if others will find it interesting, but it just won't let go. Realizing that others not finding something interesting is really not a good reason to not pursue it, I decided to give in to that little voice.

So what is this project? I have spoken about it before, but just touched on what it is about. The truth is that I am not yet sure exactly what it actually is about.....but perhaps that makes it a good idea to talk about.

Murals. I see murals. Well everyone sees them. You know the kind I am talking about.....the kind that are painted on the sides of buildings. Well, I can enjoy the mural taken as a whole and as the artist meant for it to be seen. But then I see these little segments of it. Little segments that themselves look like small pieces of abstract art in a way that is different from the original intent of the artist


Mural Abstract 1


These small pieces of the whole somehow look like they could be complete works to me.

Mural Abstract 2

A somewhat bizarre thought, that a piece of artwork could be composed of many, many smaller pieces of art that have nothing to do with the whole and don't resemble it in the least. Molecules of art?

Mural Abstract 3

The colors are vivid, but I think it also works reasonably well in toned black and white.


Mural Abstract In Toned Black And White    © Howard Grill


Yet Another Mural

In my last post I spoke about pulling out sections of larger murals to form small, and sometimes abstract, pieces of artwork. I couldn't resist posting one more such image. As you might imagine, walking around New York City there were abundant opportunities to make these sorts of photographs.


New York Mural    © Howard Grill


Piazza Lavoro By Ned Smyth

For quite some time I have enjoyed making photos of small abstract sections of painted murals, particularly the ones I have found close to home in Pittsburgh.  This  photo, while not an abstract portion, is a segment of a beautiful tile mural on Pittsburgh's North Shore (remember, we have three rivers, so we have shores).  



Segment of Ned Smyth's Piazza Lavoro    ©Howard Grill


This particular mural by Ned Smyth was installed in 1984 and is called Piazza Lavoro.  The mural was commisioned by the Heinz family (maybe you have heard of them :) and, as the accompanying plaque notes, "This two-part sculpture recognizes the significant contributions of Pittsburgh to American labor history by a symbolic representation of labor's role in our nation's development. The human figures populating the facades are engaged in this activity, while the palm trees and marine life are reminders of the delicate balance between civilization and nature."

More information about the mural/sculpture as well as photos of the entire piece can be seen on the Pittsburgh Murals website, which is an absolutely fantastic resource I ran across.  Delve in deep and in one location you can find pictures, maps, and artist information about most of the street murals in the city.