Thomas Joshua Cooper

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Thomas Joshua Cooper FRSE (born 1946, San Francisco) is an American photographer of Cherokee descent. He is considered amongst the premier contemporary landscape photographers.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Cooper received his bachelor’s degree from Humboldt State University in Arcata, California in 1969. In 1972, he received his master’s in photography from the University of New Mexico.[2]

Cooper was inspired by the works of the photographers of the f/64 group of the 1930s and 1940s, such as Ansel Adams. Cooper states, "I'll live and die by the late works of Edward Weston, Alfred Stieglitz and Paul Strand, and I think Robert Frank is the most extraordinary living photographic picture-maker."[3]

Cooper loves being a photographer, but is frustrated by some of the vocabulary that is used in the field. He indicates, "I hate the words "snap", "shoot" and "take" when it comes to making photographs. Everything I do is very seriously built up. They are 'made' pictures."[3]

Not only a photographer, Cooper is a poet and has written haiku books.[citation needed] Most of them are inspired by nature and reflect his photography.

He currently resides in Glasgow, Scotland, where he founded the Fine Art Photography Department at the Glasgow School of Art in 1982.[citation needed] He is now a senior researcher in the faculty of Fine Art, holding a Professorial role. He is married to Catherine Alice Mooney.

In 2009 Cooper achieved a Guggenheim Fellowship in Photography.[4]

He is represented by Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh.

Awards and honours[edit]


Cooper’s works are held by over fifty[6] museums and public collections, among them:[1]


  1. ^ a b Everett, Deborah (2008) "Thomas Joshua Cooper (b. 1946), Cherokee Photographer" pp. 27-29 In Everett, Deborah and Zorn, Elayne (2008) Encyclopedia of Native American Artists Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut, page 27, ISBN 978-0-313-33762-8
  2. ^ a b "Thomas Joshua Cooper" Archived 2010-04-14 at the Wayback Machine John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation biography
  3. ^ a b Benedictus, Leo (28 August 2008) "Thomas Joshua Cooper's best shot" The Guardian, an interview in the "My Best Shot" series
  4. ^ "Thomas Joshua Cooper". Guggenheim Foundation. Archived from the original on 2010-04-14. Retrieved 2010-09-17.
  5. ^ "Professor Thomas Joshua Cooper FRSE - The Royal Society of Edinburgh". The Royal Society of Edinburgh. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
  6. ^ "About Thomas Joshua Cooper"[permanent dead link] Pace Wildenstein Gallery
  7. ^ Arnest, Mark (30 June 2002) "Denver Art Museum exhibit gives full exposure to rise of photography" The Gazette (Colorado Springs)

Further reading[edit]

  • Cotter, Holland (28 June 1996) "Art in Review; Thomas Joshua Cooper" The New York Times
  • Cullen, Fintan and Morrison, John (editors) (2005) "A Shared Legacy: Essays on Irish and Scottish Art and Visual Culture Ashgate, Aldershot, Hants, England, ISBN 0-7546-0644-9
  • Yau, John (2006) Ojo de agua - Thomas Joshua Cooper(Exhibition Ojo de Agua - Eye of the Water, at Pace Wildenstein, 1 December 2006 - 13 January 2007) Pace Wildenstein Publications, New York, ISBN 1-930743-63-7
  • Thomas Joshua Cooper at the Scottish Parliament talking about his life as a photographer at an exhibit of two of his works as part of a series that explores the extremities of the landscape at the points of civilization that are located furthest north, west, south, and east on the map of Scotland.

External links[edit]