The World’s Edge – The Atlantic Basin Project, Thomas Joshua Cooper's photography

Thomas Joshua Cooper The World’s Edge – The Atlantic Basin Project

The Pillar of Hercules – The Strait of Gibraltar. Punta Almina, Ceuta, Spain, 2003 - 2004.

Furthest North – The Mid-North Atlantic Ocean. Faro de Alegranza, Punta Delgada, Spain, 2002.

Sunrise on The Equator – Zero Latitude. The Amazon River, Brazil, 2006.

West – The Barents Sea. Prince Karls Headland, Norway, 2004.

Thick Early Morning River Mist – The Confluence f the Rio de la Plata. Isla Martin Garcia, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2006.

A Premonitional Work. The North Atlantic Ocean and the Strait of Belle Isle, Canada, 1998-1999.

West – The North Sea at the Norwegian Sea near Kolgrov, The Isle of Yrte Sula, 2004.

West – Chanel du Four et La Mer d’Iroise Pointe de Kermorvan, Finistere, Brittany. Very near the West-most point (Pointe de Corsen) of mainland France, 2004.

First Light – Furthest Southwest – The South Atlantic Ocean – The Cape of Good Hope, #2, 2004.

Last Light - Furthest Southwest - The South Atlantic Ocean, 2004.

Artist's statement

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 photographer


1946, San Francisco, United States



Based in

Scotland, United Kingdom

About Thomas Joshua Cooper

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).