Film Screening—Martha Cooper: A Picture Story
Inspired by William Klein's bold and impactful photographs made on the streets of New York, Rome, and beyond, this summer immerse yourself at ICP in the fast-paced world of street photography.
Catch a special screening of the documentary Martha Cooper: A Picture Story at ICP followed by a conversation with Martha Cooper, street photography pioneer and ICP Faculty and New York-based street photographer, Amy Touchette. Stay late for pay by donation admission to ICP's galleries to see, William Klein: YES; Photographs, Paintings, Film, 1946-2013.
About the Film
Martha Cooper is an unexpected icon of the street art movement — a tiny, grey-haired figure running alongside crews of masked graffiti artists.
In the 1970s, as the boroughs of New York City burned, she worked as a photographer for the New York Post, seeking images of creativity and play where others saw crime and poverty. As a result, she captured some of the first images of New York graffiti, at a time when the city had declared war on this new culture. Martha and her co-author Henry Chalfant compiled these images into the book Subway Art. However, the commercial failure of the book forced Martha to leave graffiti behind, moving on to document many other hidden cultures of New York.
20 years later Martha discovers she has become a legend of the graffiti world — a culture that has now exploded into a global movement. Subway Art became one of the most sold — and stolen — art books of all time, photocopied and shared by graffiti artists for decades.
At 75 years of age, Martha finds herself navigating a culture vastly changed. The small community born from struggle and adversity has grown into a commercial industry fueled by the rise of social media. Now every new piece of street art is immediately uploaded, and crowds line up for selfies in front of popular works. Martha struggles to find her place in this new world, driven by a passion for capturing the creativity that helps people rise above their environment.
Important Program Information
Currently, ICP requires that all visitors aged two and older wear a mask while on the premises. Proof of vaccination is no longer required but strongly recommended to visit the ICP Galleries. Events taking place in the ICP library currently require proof of vaccination in order to attend; please review your tickets closely for up-to-date requirements. ICP requires visitors to this program to show proof of vaccination at the front desk.
ICP Street Photography Intensive
Interested in honing your street photography skills? Learn more about ICP's Street Photography Intensive which offers intermediate photographers the opportunity to dive into Street Photography, gain confidence taking pictures in public places, and acquire the knowledge, techniques, and artistic background needed for creating arresting imagery in this dynamic environment. Upcoming courses offered taught by Amy Touchette, Jeff Mermelstein, Vanessa Charlot, Natan Dvir and more exciting voices in street photography. Now accepting enrollment.
Martha Cooper has documented urban art and culture for 45 years. Cooper's books include Subway Art (1984), a collaboration with Henry Chalfant; R.I.P.: Memorial Wall Art (1994); Hip Hop Files: Photographs, 1979–1984 (2004), We B*Girlz; Street Play (2005); New York State of Mind (2007); Tag Town (2007); Going Postal (2009); Name Tagging (2010); Tokyo Tattoo 1970 (2012); and Remembering 9/11 (2011). Spray Nation, containing Cooper's previously unpublished New York City graffiti photos from the 1980s, was released in 2022. Martha is based in New York City but travels to street art and hip hop festivals worldwide.
Amy Touchette is a photographer based in Brooklyn, who specializes in street portraits. Trained at the International Center of Photography, her photographs are exhibited and published internationally, most recently at the National Portrait Gallery in London, England, and in Women Street Photographers (Prestel, 2021). Touchette's second monograph, Personal Ties: Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, was published in December 2021 by Schilt Publishing (Amsterdam) and garnered a Critical Mass 2021 Top 50. Photographs from the book exhibit through the end of the year in Photoville's The Brooklyn Connection curated by Jamel Shabazz. Her first monograph, Shoot the Arrow: A Portrait of The World Famous *BOB*, was published by Un-Gyve Press (Boston, 2013). She is represented by ClampArt in NYC and Little Big Galerie in Paris, France.