HENRY CHALFANT - Photographer/Filmmaker
Henry Chalfant, a Stanford University educated sculptor began photographing subway graffiti paintings in the mid 1970s and continued into the 1980s. The time period in which he photographed saw New York City subway graffiti at one of its highest levels of creativity. He photographed important works by artists such as LEE, DONDI, SKEME, SEEN and BLADE and many others.
Chalfant became well known for the unique fashion in which he photographed subway cars. The camera would remain in one spot with automatic film advance while the subject (train) moves. The end result is a straight forward single image built from several frames providing more detail. The technique has become one of the standards for photo documentation of trains internationally.
Chalfant became well known and respected within New York's graffiti art community. The SOHO studio in which he sculpted became a salon of sorts for writers. Chalfant often invited writers to see his photos of their work. It quickly became a famous location within the graffiti community. It was not uncommon for writers from different boroughs and different crews to be present at the studio on any given afternoon.
To Chalfant's credit are three of the most historically influential documentations of aerosol art. Firstly are the book Subway Art(1984) which he co-authored with Martha Cooper and the film Style Wars (1983) which he co-produced with director Tony Silver. The book and film captured aerosol art culture during one of its peak periods in New York City. In 1987 Chalfant co-authored the book Spraycan Art with James Prigoff. Spraycan Art documented the global expansion of aerosol art. Each one of these documentary efforts have been embraced by the international graffiti community. They have served as cultural blueprints for graffiti art movements across the world.
Chalfant's photographs have been displayed internationaly. He has lectured on the topic of graffiti at institutions such as the Whitney Museum in New York City.
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