Black Boy, Garuda (Detail)

Changing Mural – Black Boy & Garuda

I had photographed this mural before. The other day I was doing a walkabout in my neighborhood and passed it again, to see that the artist had re-worked the mural in new colors with new designs.

here are the original photos I took, in color and black-and-white.

Black Boy, Garuda, Color
Black Boy, Garuda, Color
Black Boy, Garuda, B/W
Black Boy, Garuda, B/W

The artist came back and re-worked the piece, keeping only the head of Garuda and the head of the black boy as compositional elements, and completely re-working the color palette.

Black Boy, Garuda
Black Boy, Garuda
Black Boy, Garuda (Detail)
Black Boy, Garuda (Detail)

This is one thing a traditional photograph can’t do – it can’t evolve over time being reworked into a totally different yet fundamentally similar image. At the point you transform a photograph this much, it’s no longer a photograph. It’s figurative and not literal. Part of the intrinsic quality of a photograph that makes it valuable and meaningful as a photograph as opposed to a painting is its relative immutability and the appearance of a binary 1:1 relationship with reality. We know of course that photographs CAN lie, and that they have figurative, non-literal properties, but the descriptive quality of a photograph is so powerful that we WANT to view them as purely, literally descriptive and non-figurative – “Photos don’t lie” and the visual equivalent of “if it wasn’t true, they couldn’t print it”.

So the question to you is, is this the same mural, or is it a different mural entirely, now that it’s been reworked?

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