notjust Reveals BEN COOPER
notjust Reveals Ben Cooper - Photographer
notjust - Please introduce yourself. Be as real as you can, Who you are, what you do, get deep with it. Please feel free to get lost in a story, make jokes and even swear if you feel you need to! Just be Ben Cooper throughout.
Ben - This feels a bit weird, but I’m going to do my best to introduce myself without sounding like too much of a weapon. Now based in London, I spent 11 years living by the coast in sunny Bournemouth where I developed a love for the outdoors and adventure, and met my girlfriend who now features a lot in my photos!
Whilst I work in brand marketing, I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by some super creative and inspiring people, from professional surfers and Olympic snowboarders, to illustrators, designers, musicians and some incredibly talented photographers. When you’re based in a beautiful location, and have this pool of people around you, it’s hard to not be inspired. I now try to channel some of this into my photos, learn from the best and explore new places with my own outlook.
notjust - Its evident (from your Instagram feed) that analog/film photography is your choice of medium, it's also quite apparent that your go-to shooter is a Nikon F3. Is there any particular reason for that specific camera?
Ben - Apart from using my phone, I have pretty much only ever shot film. My Dad passed me down his old Pentax ME Super four years ago, and I basically fell in love with it. I think it was because I was using his camera that had taken so many photos of me and my brother when we were younger, that have always littered his house. I still use it occasionally now, but have picked up a couple others along the way, including the Nikon F3 HP that my girlfriend bought me for my 30th. She had been in Japan with a photographer from her work, and he helped guide her to find something that would suit me and what I was moving on from. I absolutely love it, and I think it’s helped me improve a little as well.
notjust - What is your the journey your trying to portray? We see a lot of activity and outdoors/nature with in your work..
Ben - For me, photography has become a way of documenting the lucky things I get to do – holidays, city breaks, home adventures and work trips. I travel a lot and whilst I love that opportunity, it means time with family and friends sometimes takes a backseat. My photos are a chance to keep them updated.
notjust - Do you archive your personal favourites and then upload when you feel is appropriate, or is there a system to your posting process?
Ben - As everything is on film, it’s all one big archive really. I don’t develop my own photos, so there is always a delay in being able to post them – but I tend to just wait for the right moment. Sometimes there are photos that come back I love, and I’ll know exactly what I want to say about it, or the moment. Others I’ll just have a flick through my pics to see what feels right for that point in time.
notjust - Seascapes seems to be of regular occurrence too, when appreciating your work we get the sense of calmness and tranquility. This maybe due to the linear implied lines and the storytelling of freedom, what is your reasoning for the consistent 'Sea' imagery?
Ben - From living by the coast for so long, I love the sea. Few things have the depth of change that the ocean has, and every day I miss it. I’m a big fan of clean lines and linear design in general, and those you get when shooting a horizon, with transforming shades between water and sky, always bring a subtle variance. I guess I just find a little calm from them, and a peaceful energy that reminds me of my past home.
notjust - Whats the next step? In regards to Ben Coopers direction, Where are you going or what are your plans? (Exciting things that you might not usually mention!)
Ben - I wouldn’t say there is a change in direction planned, as I tend to try and capture a style relevant to whatever setting I am in. However, my girlfriend and I have recently inherited some of the camera equipment that belonged to her grandma, Nonnie, who sadly passed away at the start of this year. A real adventurer, her and her husband were pioneers in the advertising world through the 50s and 60s; I think it’s safe to say we both find her an inspiration, and I would love nothing more than to capture some of our adventures, on the same cameras that captured hers.