Thomas Joshua Cooper is one of the most celebrated and distinctive landscape photographers working anywhere in the world today. He was born in California in 1946, of mixed Jewish and Cherokee descent, but has lived in Scotland for many years. He is the founding Head of Photography at Glasgow School of Art but spends much of his working life away from Scotland in the role of explorer, seeking out the edges of the world. Like artists such as Richard Long and Hamish Fulton, Cooper is a traveller, he is a nomadic artist whose extraordinary photographs are made at significant points at the extremities of the globe.
The capturing of any one image can involve months of preparation and arduous travel as the given location is first found on a map, tracked down and then photographed; each place the subject of a single 5 x 7 inch negative, taken with a weighty wooden field camera from 1898. They are meditative, almost philosophical images, hovering between abstraction and intense figurative detail, exquisitely hand printed by the artist in the late nineteenth century manner, with layers of selenium and silver.
Cooperâ€™s travels have taken him from pole to pole, old world to new, but always between journeys he returns to his studio and dark room in Glasgow. Scotland is his home and, for the last 32 years, he has worked on a parallel project to his wider travels, chronicling his adopted land through the rivers that help to define its identity. Scattered Waters: Sources Streams Rivers is Cooperâ€™s love letter to Scotland and presents some of the most beautiful and unexpected photographs that he has ever made.
Cooperâ€™s photographs can be found in over 50 public collections worldwide including the Art Institute of Chicago, the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Tate Gallery, London, and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh.
A 96-page hardback book with a new essay by writer Bella Bathurst has been published to accompany the exhibition and is available now at the special exhibition price of Â£25. To buy online, please click here.
1 November 2014 11am - midday
Thomas Joshua Cooper in conversation with Anne Lyden, Curator of International Photography, National Galleries of Scotland.
Free, booking essential. To book your placeclick here Image credits from top:
- Thomas Joshua Cooper | Lost on the River Findhorn, Somewhere on the Findhorn Gorge, Morayshire | 1997 â€“ 2004 | silver gelatin print, hand toned & printed by the artist
- Thomas Joshua Cooper | Late Afternoon, The River Tweed, Dawyck, Stobo, Peebleshire | 2014 | silver gelatin print, hand toned & printed by the artist Last Chance to See