When you’re on the road, you’re never getting the full experience of a destination.
Maybe you’re distracted by something big that’s happening like a National Day celebration or maybe it just wasn’t impactful enough at the time. It’s only when you get back and reflect on your trip that you get the whole picture.
Graffiti has been like that for me.
Going through digital piles of photography from different trips (I sell them on stock photo sites including Shutterstock*, Alamy and Getty/iStock), I discovered that I’ve subconsciously taken numerous photographs of graffiti at various different places. I hadn’t realised that I was such a graffiti aficionado but perhaps I am.
But more importantly, it’s made me realise that what makes a travel moment isn’t always so obvious.
So here are a few surprising graffiti moments for me:
On a guided tour around the centre of the city of Ghent in Belgium, I spotted this wall of graffiti.
It was in Patershol, a historic part of town with old buildings and hip restaurants. During the day, it’s an area that’s almost empty. Grey stone buildings lined twisted, cobbled streets. An upscale residential area for sure.
That’s why it was a bit of a surprise to discover a flash of colour on this wall in an alleyway. It’s like new life in an old city.
The harbour, Helsinki
Surrounded by simple seafood promises, the deer graffiti stood out in its colour and its theme, just splashed across a simple wooden board on the side of a container. Quite a juxtaposition.
South of the river, Florence
While on assignment in Florence, I spotted this graffiti by fluke.
I was my way to Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte, notebook in hand. It’s not colourful but it was funny. Especially given my motives for being in the city.
Temple of Horus, Edfu
The monuments of Ancient Egypt are covered in graffiti. Not the spray painted kind but a much more rudimentary version – carved into stone.
In Egypt, graffiti has a way of indicating the passage of time.
This particular one is Arabic, found at the Temple of Horus in Edfu, but you can also find ones from the time when the Ancient Greeks came to Egypt, or more recently when visitors began assigning dates like F.C. Drake who visited Karnak Temple in 1857.