Wall Scouting

Did you ever wonder why bloggers LOVE taking pictures of themselves in front of street art? Well, today we’re going to dive into the answer…

A couple days ago, Fashionista wrote a story called How “Wall Scouting” Became a Thing. I was of course intrigued, as many of my personal style photos are taken in front of cool walls around Chicago, and even beyond. But I never really thought of why I did that. I just did it. I also didn’t realize that it’s enough of a “thing” for a publication like Fashionista to write about it. So you know what? I thought I’d write about it too.

According to the article, an interesting backdrop like these can increase likes / engagement. I can see why that would be true. It makes for an overall more visually appealing image, which is probably why I enjoy a good street art background for my photos in the first place (after all, I like to choose a background that doesn’t make my personal style photos “so much Jena”). As far as me personally gaining more likes / engagement on street art background photos, I don’t really see it. Maybe because a majority of my personal style photos are taken with these backdrops, and they have been since I started personal style here on CCF. So you’re all probably sick of it by now, right?

That could be the case. But let’s really get to the bottom of this. So it makes for a cool photo, right? I think we’ve accomplished that. What’s really exciting about this, though, is that it can actually add value for the artist. For example, I’m sure you’ve seen all sorts of Instagram photos of the love wall in New York. This was done by artist James Goldcrown. And because of his “viral wall” (whether it’s people just stopping to take a photo of it or in front of it), he’s gained over 4,000 Instagram followers since he created this mural in February. But more importantly (because there is more to life than gaining Instagram followers) and he’s been approached by private clients, clubs and restaurants for commissioned work. You go James!

Even Eva Chen has gotten on board with this, so much that she created her own separate Instagram handle @photogenicwalls, complete with geotags so you no longer have to scout the streets to stage your perfect Instagram shot.

So now back to the basics. Are we doing this for more likes or because we like what we see? I guess it could be for both. Like I said, I personally don’t see higher or lower engagement when it comes to street art in my photos. Whether I’m in the photo or not, I just love to see street art in any city and take photos of it. I always found it fascinating to be able to experience art anywhere you go. You don’t have to go to a museum or a gallery, you can literally see art FOR FREE on your way to work, running errands, walking your dog, etc. How cool is that? Plus, many of these walls are very temporary so you never know what you’ll see next time you walk by. It’s always changing.

I will most likely continue to use street art as a backdrop for my personal style photos, because I love that way it looks and it’s a way to really integrate art into fashion. Am I scouring the streets everyday to look for a place to shoot photos of myself? I sort of wish, as I very rarely have anything in mind when it comes time to shoot. We just choose a neighborhood and hope for the best. And if a cool wall happens to be near by then we go for it.

It’s also exciting to incorporate artists I’m personally a fan of into my site. Like JC Rivera, who does Bear Champ.

Or Don’t Fret whose work is super random yet always makes me smile.

And it’s not just in Chicago. If I see a cool wall elsewhere, you best believe I’m going for it. Whether it’s LA

Berlin…(where there’s amazing street art everywhere but you can’t pass up 1.3 kilometers of street art goodness at East Side Gallery)


Or Melbourne (specifically, Hosier Lane AKA street art heaven)

hosier lane

I can’t pass up a good wall! I really can’t. Like physically cannot.

So what do you think of this “wall scouting” phenomenon? Do you enjoy the photos? Or do you think they’re too staged and overplayed? Your honest opinion is more than welcome!

Photos by Daniel Kelleghan, Heather Talbert, & Eva Daiberl (taken from 2012 to present)

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