The Golden Age of Gang Graffiti
When these photographs of Chicano "placas" (wall writing) were made in the early 1970s gangs and their graffiti were a mysterious presence that few understood -- if they were aware of them at all. In the thirty plus years since the popular media and entertainment industry have repeatedly spotlighted the subject to the point that the gangsta culture has become a pervasive part of our society.

The original gangster graffiti of this period was of a purer form than that seen today, with much emphasis on artistic flourishes. These pieces could last for years in the days before municipalities instituted aggressive graffiti removal programs that quickly remove them from view -- often overnight.

This is, of course, still vandalism but from an earlier and more innocent time.

An article interviewing the photographer can be found at
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