The funny thing about taggers is that they put their names up all over the place and yet, for obvious reasons, have to hide their identity. What surprised me most about the taggers I followed was that these guys come from all walks of life and backgrounds—there was a construction worker, a college-educated artist, a middle-class designer, and unemployed fathers. But I wasn’t surprised to see how their thrill-seeking brought these guys together. I was stood up by taggers many times on this assignment, but that’s the nature of the game. These guys know the nooks and crannies of this city and how to scale them. At all hours of the day and night, I found myself wandering where I wouldn’t usually step. A police officer even warned me not to carry expensive photographic equipment around unpredictable streets—something that has also happened when I’ve covered gangs. But I need my tools. In photography, you need to expect the unexpected and be ready to shoot it.
ALSO: Read Urban Scrawl
Photograph by Robert Yager