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Janne Riikonen – Personalia


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Personalia is a visual study of graffiti culture in Sweden, focusing on the people behind the thriving underground culture. Thousands of graffiti writers devote their lives to the peculiar and controversial form of art; by their actions they gain respect and fame among their own rather small community, whereas are considered merely a nuisance by the general public. While graffiti often is seen as a youth culture and most graffiti writers start painting in their teenage years, the addiction grows deep roots that grip many for a lifetime.

Riikonen spent four years photographing the Swedish graffiti scene, aiming to find the most dedicated and hardcore writers. The challenge naturally was that graffiti writers generally never want to be seen, even less so be photographed. Showing no actual graffiti, Personalia scratches deeper than just the surface. Through Riikonen’s close portraits the viewers get to meet the unseen practitioners of illegal graffiti, some masked, some unmasked.


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