Through an interview with the main trainspotter in the city of Cologne, Germany, we get a little closer to the strange dimension of passive graffiti lovers.
Graffiti is an extremely participatory and creative type of interest. What do we mean by this? Well, when we talk about graffiti fans, we are generally referring to writers. That is, despite some known examples starting with Henry Chalfant himself, it is still difficult for writers to conceive that someone can love graffiti without. Ring a writer themselves, even though this is an increasingly common phenomenon.
Within this broad, varied profile of passive graffiti lovers, we find graffiti photographers. Within this specific type of fans, we find the most involved ones: train graffiti photographers. In Europe we commonly call them trainspotters or spotters.
In most cities with a considerable train graffiti scene, there is at least one trainspotter. This is usually an individual whose hobby is to collect photographs of graffiti in circulation, a person who understands the value it has, and understands its ephemeral character. The German city of Cologne is no exception, and there we have found Rebecca2909_, whom we have interviewed to get to understand a little more around this particular way of loving graffiti unconditionally.
“Some people collect stamps and I collect colorful pictures.”
-How did you start to get interested in taking pics of painted trains?
My interest started with my move to Cologne in 2016. I made the first pictures in 2017.
-How do you fit your hobby into your normal life?
I travel to work every day by train and there is a lot to see. You can not close your eyes.
Now it is more then a hobby it is like a passion. Some people collect stamps and I collect colorful pictures.
-How do you choose the spots to take the pictures from?
It depends on time, weather and on which side the pieces are.
-Is it possible to be a graffiti lover without writing?
For me definitely yes. I think there are only two sides the lovers and the haters.
-Have you ever painted a train?
-Would you do it?
“Workers (…) ask me if I am the destroyer of this train.”
-Favorite writers or crews?
In cologne the NICE crew but not only of the trains. They bomb everything… trains, trainlines, station and houses. In terms of freight the HOBOS crew.
X Wagen (the orange ones) DB BR 420.
-Have you got in any trouble with the authorities or DB workers?
When I am taking pictures directly in the main station DB workers become aware of me. And they ask me if I am the destroyer of this train.
-Do you usually talk with writers?
Yes, for sure.
“I do not want a trophy or earning money with that…”
-If you didn’t have an Instagram account would you keep on taking pictures of trains?
Yes. I like to show what is going on in my hometown Cologne.
-Do you have any goals with your photo work?
I do not want a trophy or earning money with that… Collecting more and more colored pieces for my own archive is my never-ending challenge.