Martha Cooper is an unlikely hero in the world of graffiti and street art.

The photographer, now 75 years old, was one of the first professionals to document and publish street art of 70s & 80s New York City, and alongside Henry Chalfant set the bar for graffiti and street art documentarians for decades to come.

In the absence of the internet, their book, Subway Art, became the style guide for graffiti artists who were able to study the lettering of artists on the other side of the globe.

Her fascinating life and journey to becoming the mother of worldwide graffiti scenes, was the subject of her TED talk in Vienna in 2016. Although not the most timely share, her views and story are still as inspiring, impressive and fun now as they were two years ago.

Watch her full talk below.

Based near Scotland? Hear Martha chat, along with Nika Kramer, at this year’s Yardworks Festival on Friday 11 May.

A rare opportunity to hear her talk in person about the culture that inspired many others of us into documenting street art and graffiti.


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