Thomas Joshua Cooper The World’s Edge – The Atlantic Basin Project
I have, since 1968, stuck to vows made in a moment of epiphany to make art only with my 1898 AGFA camera, to only make images outdoors, and to only ever make one image in any one place. With this singular and focusedbody of work, I have come to be regarded as one of the world’s important landscape artists.
The World’s Edge – The Atlantic Basin Project is an ambitious mission, begun nearly twenty years ago, to photographically ‘map’ the extremities of the lands and islands of all five continents that surround the entire Atlantic Ocean. The images of water encapsulate both the otherworldliness and the vital reality of the sea: the ethereal and frightening power of water – light, shadow, movement, depth, and volume. Most of these locations are difficult to reach; the border between man’s foothold on earth and the unknown depths of the substance making up the vast majority of the world. Some places are endangered – with the delicate balance of the planet disrupted can these places be sustained? My project is a subtle, aesthetic and almost abstract meditation on the process of globalization, and the wandering transoceanic evolution of Western culture, and the human stories wrapped up in this grand sweep.
Water is an element that binds us all, a vital necessity, a force with the power of affecting life and death. Growing up in the wilderness I learned the visceral connection between land and identity, as well as the tendency of the human eye to overlay what it surveys with storiesand memories. When I travel to the edges of land, where water is all that lies ahead, these stories are clearly audible. My pictures offer an opportunity to meditate upon the grandeur of history and are an analogy for the particularity and sameness of our experience, especially in this age of increasing homogeneity; when the sustainability of our existenceis everyone’s concern.
About the author
1946, San Francisco, United States
Scotland, United Kingdom
Thomas Joshua Cooper has exhibited worldwide in venues such as Tate St Ives, the Serpentine Gallery, London, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon and the Museum of Modern Art, Oslo. His work features in many major collections including those of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Art, Baltimore, La Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, Boston Museum of Fine Art, Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderna, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, The International Museum of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. In 1982 he established the Department of Photography at the Glasgow School of Art. He is a Royal Scottish Academician and has received a number of awards in the UK and US including 1999 the Major Artist’s Award, Lannan Foundation, Santa Fe (1999), the Major Artists Award, Scottish Arts Council (1994), and the National Endowment for the Arts, Photography Fellow, Washington, D.C. (1978).
Benoit Aquin, The Chinese 'Dust Bowl', 2006-2007
Edward Burtynsky, Selected works, 1996-2007
Jesus Abad Colorado, Landscapes and Battles: Two wings wait for the end of the tragedy, 1995-2002
Thomas Joshua Cooper, The World's Edge - The Atlantic Basin Project, 1998-2006
Sebastian Copeland, Antarctica - The Global Warning, 2006
Christian Cravo, Waters of Hope, Rivers of Tears, 1995-2008
Lynn Davis, Ice, 1988-2007
Carl De Keyzer, Moments before the Flood, 2006-2007
Reza Deghati, War and Peace, 1994-2006
Susan Derges, Eden & The Observer and the Observed, 1991-2008
Malcolm Hutcheson, Lahore's Waste Water Problem, 2008
Chris Jordan, In Katrina's Wake: Portraits of Loss from an Unnatural Disaster, 2005
David Maisel, Terminal Mirage & The Lake Project, 2001-2004
Mary Mattingly, Second Nature and Time Has Fallen Asleep, 2004-2008
Robert Polidori, After The Flood, 2005-2006
Roman Signer, Body of Work, 1976-2000
Jules Spinatsch, Snow Management, 2004-2008
Munem Wasif, Water Tragedy: Climate Refugee of Bangladesh, 2007