Montana Cans introduces the latest addition to the Montana Cans ICONIC Series. This time the iconic spotlight is on legendary American photographer, Martha Cooper. Famous for her authentic and compassionate documentation of the New York Hip-Hop and graffiti culture during the late 70’s and 80’s, Martha Cooper gained world recognition in 1984 for her collaboration with fellow photographer Henry Chelfant, on the classic graffiti art book “Subway Art”. The book would become one of the most referenced of its genre worldwide and become a major influence to graffiti artist all over the globe, even to this day.
The Montana Cans ICONIC Series focuses on one of her better known images from the 80’s of two policeman standing in a fully tagged New York subway car. The image has been turned into a triptych and split over three cans as a homage to this amazing photographer and her on going contribution to our culture. This special limited edition will be available as a set of 3 Cans and launched officially at the 20th of May at the “SNAP WRAP” exhibition by Martha Cooper and Urban Nation in Berlin.
In 1981, Martha was riding on the New York subway with her camera, not a recommended move considering the high crime rate at the time. The low ISO of her Kodachrome 64 film made it difficult to take pictures while the car was underground. But when the subway hit daylight in the Bronx, the image of the cops framed by graffiti tags was irresistible. Was she going to risk asking the officers for permission to photograph them? Since taking pictures on the subway was illegal at the time, she decided just to go for it.
“Luckily they didn’t say anything and I got the shot. Mission accomplished.“Martha Cooper
Cooper has been inseparable from the worldwide street art scene for more than thirty years and her work has been seminal to the development of urban art. She has continued to follow and shoot the culture as it has progressed from a secret underground activity to the largest art movement in the history of the world . You can follow her travels on Instagram @marthacoopergram