TAG TOWN – Martha Cooper


Martha Cooper is best known for publishing SUBWAY ART in 1984. Together with Henry Chalfant she documented the New York subway graffiti of the early eighties. While trainwriting was on its peak at this very time, relics of the first writing generations could still be found in the streets of New York. Starting in the 1960s namewriting became a main youth movement in NYC which later developed into stylewriting and build the foundation for graffiti as we know it today. With TAG TOWN Martha Cooper opens her archive to show that documenting names on trains wasn’t her only focus back in the days.

Besides numerous never before published shots from the photographer, the book features magazine essays from 1973, 1975 and 1982 on the phenomenon, an foreword by Tobias Barenthin Lindblad and interviews with BLADE, PART1 and SNAKE1 on 108 pages.

TAG TOWN is separated into different chapters, showing various stylistic features which were used back then: street numbers, roman numerals, stars, arrows, figurative elements, crowns, clouds, etc.. Although there is no exact dating added to the photos, the chapters help to understand how the tools to write your name developed from a simple brush (or scratching) to marker and later to the spraycan; how writers evolved in creating an unique and memorizable tag and how small hits turned into outlined tags, started having fill-ins, shadows and backgrounds and slowly became the first pieces.

108 pages, 19,4 x 25,5 cm, Paperback
Language: English
Release date: 2008
Publisher: Dokument Press

Out of stock