Whilst we’re thinking about stunning imagery of the New York of yesteryear we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get some Henry Chalfant images up here. In the early/mid 70’s Chalfant began documenting the emerging graffiti scene spreading like wildfire across New Yorks streets and transport system. Producing composite images of whole trains from his prints he was slowly accepted into the secretive (with good reason – some fools were calling these people criminals!?) world of the graffiti writers and in turned opened up his studio and photo archives to kids allowing them to appreciate, study and ultimately pick up the baton and push the movement forwards. No small contribution when you consider the NY transport authorities were buffing/erasing these artworks from history almost as quickly as they were being painted.
With the publication, in 1984, of the definitive guide to NY graffiti art ‘Subway Art’ Chalfant sent the story of this radical, exhilarating movement around the world. Just in case the world didn’t quite get the message Chalfant then went on to co-produce the legendary film Style Wars as well as the street gang documentary Flyin’ Cut Sleeves (both firm favourites on the subbaculture film list).
Be sure to check out more at www.henrychalfant.com