Even in America, Filming Graffiti Can Be A Crime
Earlier this week, a photographer who was facing felony charges for photographing two graffiti artists while they painted a mural accepted a plea deal. The photographer, Jonas Lara, agreed to pay restitution for damage to the property. In return the prosecutor reduced the charges to a charge of disturbing the peace. (source; source)
Siouxsie was going to blog about how crazy it is to prosecute someone for filming or photographing street artists at work. The facts in the Lara case, as it turns out though, are messy. The photographer and the graffiti artists trespassed onto private property, and to do so they broke a gate. There were also some allegations that the photographer acted more like part of the crew than someone shooting a documentary. So, while it sounds absolutely absurd that a photographer would be prosecuted for photographing graffiti artists, Siouxsie isn’t going to go there tonight.
Instead, let’s talk about the new documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop. The film is about Thierry Guetta, a filmmaker who started out trying to film a documentary about the world of street art. Somewhere during the process of filming, Mr. Guetta adopts the moniker Mr. Brainwash and becomes a street artist himself. The film is all about the intersection of art, law, media and madness. How great is that? It is like a mash up of Bowling for Columbine, Turk 182 and This Is Spinal Tap.
Check out the trailer below.