A guide to the New East
Photography

Underground art: the hidden world of Moscow’s graffiti artists

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At the age of 22, graffiti artist-turned-photographer Alex Partola self-published a book of black-and-white images that captured the creative process behind tagging trains and spray-painting subways at night. Published in 2012, Ghost in the Machine gives an insider’s tour of the hidden world of graffiti artists in Moscow. “For real graffiti, there should be no one who witnesses the process except the artist himself,” says Partola. Enveloped in darkness, his enigmatic photographs show the beauty of illegal art. Following the success of the book, including an exhibition of the work at London’s Studio 74 gallery, Partola is working on a second photographic project on Russian graffiti. “I position myself as an artist rather than a photographer,” he says. “Therefore images shouldn’t just be beautiful. They should also have a good story to tell.”

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