In the summer of 2003, Thomas Joshua Cooper traveled to Shoshone Falls in southern Idaho to photograph where the Snake River had tumbled across a 212 foot precipice, once one of the most sublime and inspiring landscapes in the American West. Cooper’s images were a response to the work of Timothy H. O’Sullivan, photographer on the nineteenth-century geologic and geographic surveys led by Clarence King and Lieutenant George M. Wheeler. Traveling to Shoshone Falls in 1868 and again in 1874, O’Sullivan’s images are emblematic of the seven years he spent exploring the West, capturing both the physical grandeur and emotional resonance of this unique landscape. Cooper’s photographs simultaneously engage the work of his predecessor while expanding his own formal vocabulary in a project that creates a dialogue about history, geography, and the process of photographic image making. Printed large scale in lush tri-tone, this book reproduces eighteen images by Cooper in tandem with eight albumen prints by O’Sullivan. An engaging essay by Toby Jurovics, curator of photography at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., contextualizes their work and closely examines one of today’s most compelling landscape photographers.
About the Artist
Thomas Joshua Cooper, born in San Francisco, has lived in Scotland for the past twenty years, where he is Professor of Fine Art at Glasgow School of Art. During this time he has founded the only fine art photography course in the UK. Cooper has held over fifty solo exhibitions since 1971 across Europe and America, including in 2001, an exhibition at Tate St. Ives, and more recently, an exhibition at Haunch of Venison, London (2004), followed by exhibitions in 2005 at the Galerie Judin, Zurich, the Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester, and Casa das Mudas Centro das Artes, Madeira. His work can be found in public and private collections around the world, including the Art Institute of Chicago; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the Arts Council of England, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
About the Writer
Toby Jurovics is curator of photography at the Smithsonian American Art Museum; previously, he was a curator in the department of photography at the Princeton University Art Museum. Well versed in the field of American landscape photography, he has organized numerous exhibitions by artists including Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Barbara Bosworth, and Emmet Gowin. He is the author of Framing the West: The Survey Photographs of Timothy H. O’Sullivan (2010).