Overcoming the firmly entrenched gender bias in her chosen field is only the start of the extraordinary accomplishments of photographer Martha Cooper. Her work documenting street art in New York city in the seventies was instrumental and influential in helping to establish it as a serious art form and inspiring participation.
That she did this on her own (without paid assignment) and at a time when street artists were considered criminals makes her work even more risky and remarkable. This aspect of her life forms the backbone of the film but it’s far from the defining factor. Martha, now in her mid seventies has remained fearless, unconventional and still totally involved in documenting the humanity in the world around her.
The film is a joyous celebration about art, following one’s own ambitions, seeing beauty in the everyday and never following convention. That the world is slowly catching up with the impact of her work and giving her some much deserved recognition is fantastic. Even with the increasing accolades she remains iconoclastic and true to herself.
Don’t miss your second chance to catch Martha: A Picture Story when it plays on Tuesday, October 8 at the New Farm Cinema.