Martha Cooper


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Some consider it to be art, others call it vandalism. I definitely belong to the first group. At least when it’s not just scrabbling but when there’s a message behind the whole image, when some style or at least some effort can be recognized. I’m talking about street art.

Martha Cooper is almost a celebrity in the street art and graffiti scene – and this although she doesn’t even belong to the Urban Artists. The 77-year-old woman has been taking photos since her childhood. She claims that she always knew that photography is her calling. In the 1970s she achieved what many can only dream of: She worked as a photographer for a renowned newspaper. One morning, on her way to work, she noticed the New Yorkan trains decorated with graffiti and she began to take pictures of them. Her fascination with the New York behind the scenes, the underground and the visible decay of the city increased every day and finally she quit her job at The New York Post. In the 1970s, New York was going through an economic and mainly a social crisis. Large parts of the population were almost left to themselves with only few perspectives. Martha thinks that the “make something out of nothing” typical of the graffiti and hip hop culture at that time fascinated her in particular.

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Photo Walk through the city


Despite the ongoing rainfall and a cloudy, permanently gray sky I decided not to wait much longer for a more varied lighting mood but to grab my camera and get going. After a long break I also took my reliable SIGMA 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HS lens along, which is perfect for such excursions in particular.

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