Henry Chalfant is highly regarded photographer and videographer – notable for his graffiti and breakdance photography and film. He has a deep knowledge of hip hop and underground culture. His photography can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
He co-authored the definitive account of New York graffiti art, ‘Subway Art’ and its sequel – Spraycan Art. He was the co-producer, researcher and provided the photo-documentation for the 1983 documentary film, ‘Style Wars’, first shown on PBS television in 1984 and has become known one of the foremost authorities on New York subway art.
His recent publication ‘Big Graffiti Archive’ and accompanying video, is a work of visual anthropology and already a key document of American popular culture in the late twentieth century. The artworks depicted in this publication, have been the inspiration and guide for thousands of youthful artists around the world. These pieces were only on display for a very short period before the city authorities either cleaned the trains, or the artist’s competitors wrote over them. Chalfant’s patience and determination in locating and capturing these pieces with his camera has left the world with a representative cross section of some of the most important work by the highly talented artists who painted New York City’s subway cars in the 70s and 80s – that ‘golden age of graffiti’.