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Cotton Coulson

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Cotton Coulson (1952 – May 27, 2015 in Tromsø, Norway) was a photographer known for his work for National Geographic magazine.

Professional life[edit]

Coulson graduated from New York University Film School in 1975, and was hired by National Geographic in 1976,[1] after having begun contributing to them as a freelancer in 1975.[2]

He also worked at The Baltimore Sun, where he was a director of photography,[3] and at U.S. News & World Report, where he was an associate director of photography.[1]

In 1996, he collaborated with Rick Smolan on Smolan's "24 Hours in Cyberspace" project;[4] he subsequently joined CNET, where he was senior vice-president of creative services until 1999, at which point he was promoted to vice president and executive producer.[5]


On May 24, 2015, Coulson was scuba diving in the waters of the Svalbard Archipelago as part of a photography assignment, when he signaled to his diving partner that he needed to surface immediately.[4] By the time they emerged from the water, he was unresponsive; CPR was performed,[2] but he died in hospital three days later, without having ever regained consciousness.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Coulson was married to fellow photographer Sisse Brimberg, who was also his professional partner;[6] they met at a photography seminar in 1976.[4]

He was named for Cotton Mather.[4]


  1. ^ a b Cotton Coulson, National Geographic Photographer, Dies, by Laura Parker; at National Geographic; published May 28, 2015. Retrieved June 21, 2015
  2. ^ a b Photographer Cotton Coulson Dies in Diving Accident on National Geographic Expedition, by David Walker, at Photo District News; published May 28, 2015. Retrieved June 21, 2015
  3. ^ Cotton Coulson, by Jacques Kelly, in The Baltimore Sun; published May 29, 2015. Retrieved June 21, 2015
  4. ^ a b c d e Photographer Cotton Coulson Dies In Norway After Diving Accident, by Donald R. Winslow; at the National Press Photographers Association; published May 28, 2015. Retrieved June 21, 2015
  5. ^ CNET Online Announces Promotions within Senior Management, at CNET; published March 1, 1999. Retrieved June 21, 2015
  6. ^ Cotton Coulson Dies, at Sony's Global Imaging Ambassadors; published June 5, 2015. Retrieved June 21, 2015; via archive.org

External links[edit]

  • Keenpress, official site of Coulson and Brimberg