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Thomas Joshua Cooper
Date: American, born 1946
Location of Birth: North America, United States of America, California, San Francisco
Biography: Thomas Joshua Cooper was born in San Francisco and earned his B.A. degree from Humboldt State University in Arcata (north of the Bay Area) in 1969, studying art, literature and philosophy. He went on to earn an M.A. degree in photography with honors from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque in 1972. His inspirations in photography include Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Alfred Stieglitz, and Paul Strand, as well as Robert Frank. He currently lives with his family in Glasgow, Scotland, where he is said to have founded the Fine Art Photography Department at the Glasgow School of Art in 1982. Cooper is now a senior researcher on the faculty; he continues to teach and is head of the department. Using a large-format camera, Cooper has since 1990 worked on his opus, an ambitious project of making photographs at major cardinal points on all five continental landmasses surrounding the Atlantic Basin. The project is grounded in his fascination with maps and atlases and his dependence on them while traveling around the world to make photographs, which also reveals their limitations. Cooper is engaged with edges and peripheries and the passage of time. He strives to defy the descriptive talents of the camera in the enterprise of capturing a broader experience of the natural world. His photographs are deeply contemplative in their creation and meant to be apprehended so by the viewer. In 2009, Cooper received the prestigious Guggenheim fellowship in photography. His work has been supported by the Lannan Foundation and he is represented by the Pace Gallery in New York. The artist has published several volumes of his photographs, including Simply Counting Waves, Point of No Return, Ojo de Agua, True, and Shoshone Falls: Thomas Joshua Cooper/Timothy H. O’Sullivan. In New Mexico, Cooper’s work has been exhibited at the University of New Mexico Art Museum (1983); SITE (mid-1990s); James Kelly Contemporary (2000); the Atrium Gallery of the Marion Center, College of Santa Fe (2003); the Lannan Foundation Gallery in conjunction with the publication by Radius Books of Shoshone Falls: Thomas Joshua Cooper/Timothy H. O’Sullivan (2010). Cooper gave a lecture on his work at the museum on Oct. 15, 2009, in conjunction with the exhibition Man Made: Notions of Landscape from the Lannan Collection. (Ware 2013)
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