Street Photographer Turns His City Into a Free-Art Gallery

Auckland, New Zealand-based street photographer Sim Ahmed of Aucklandia recently decided to spread the love of photography by displaying and offering his work for free on the streets of his city. After printing out 500 digital prints for 9 cents each three weeks ago, he began framing them, revisiting the locations where they were shot, and sticking them on buildings there.

The prints are placed into cheap frames Ahmed purchased from The Warehouse (New Zealand’s largest department store retailer. Their version of Wal-Mart), which sells 4×6 frames for as little as $1.50 each. Since the stores don’t stock many of these cheap frames at one time, Ahmed had to go around to Warehouse stores in various suburbs to pick up the quantity of frames he needed.

The back of each frame is signed and numbered, and contains a short message inviting passersby to take the photos home with them.


I’m a photograph. I was put here by someone impersonating an artist. Please rescue me and in return I promise to look damn good on your wall.

Yours sincerely,


After putting up 5 initial frames, Ahmed soon received “thank you” emails from people who found and claimed two of them.

We’ve seen this kind of project a couple of times before. A man named Mrog Deville did this in the UK about a year ago, and printing company Jondo did this with gigantic museum-quality prints in Los Angeles a few months after that.

Rainy Alley Photobomb [Aucklandia via Reddit]

Image credits: Photographs by Sim Ahmed/Aucklandia

  • harumph

    Nice. The first shot of the framed photo on the wall is nice too.

  • Jake

    I see no reason not to rip off this idea and do it myself. It can only spread happiness in the world!

  • simantics

    Hey guys, Sim Ahmed (Aucklandia photographer) here. Please feel free to take this idea and apply it to your city. The goal of this project is embracing free and open art shared for the joy of others – in that spirit I would love for others to use this idea in their own home towns.

    Rip away my friends.

  • Dan Howard

    Nice work Sim, Inspiring.

    Do you have a facebook page?

  • jan

    I have been thinking a while if it would be possible to sell prints. After reading this I realize that I can just give prints away an probably enjoy that as much as selling them. Another problem fixed, thanks!

  • wondering

    How do you affix the frames to the concrete walls?

  • simantics

    I use Blu-Tak, generous amounts of it.

    I’ve found they don’t stick as well if you just use one long strand, you need to create several (10-15) smaller balls of it all over the back.

    I didn’t think this method would actually work, but the people who found it have said it was fine.