Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hanging out of a helicopter!

Hanging out of a helicopter!
This month's Guest Photographer is Mark Cooper

Mark lives nearby in Piedmont and I have been a fan of his photos for some time. We are now friends and I am a regular visitor to his website, Mark Cooper Photographer, where he features his stunning landscape aerial photography. His website is now listed in our Italian Photoroll.

Mark says "Hanging out of a helicopter at up to three thousand meters above the Piedmont landscape I found a new perspective for my ever curious photographers eye. A new dimension, where my camera becomes my paintbrush and the landscape my ever changing canvas, a brave new world suspended between reality and abstraction. A world where I feel I belong, continuously drawing me in to new levels of discovery."

The Questions and Answers:

1. When did you start getting interested in photography?

At the age of ten my Grandmother gave me a small plastic Kodak camera and a roll of film. I became immediately fascinated by the “black magic box” which could freeze time at the click of a button. My first photographs were of a dog running, a lion yawning and out of focus butterflies, I was so proud of them that I went around with the prints in my pocket showing them to anyone that would spare me time, now I think about it, they were in effect my first exhibition, and I've been doing it ever since.

2. What in your opinion are the ingredients of a good photograph?

All Photographers and chefs have their own personal ingredients that when mixed together create a good dish or a good photograph but the objective is to convey an emotion to whoever tastes or observes the finished result. A Very good photograph is one that jumps out from the rest and screams “Look at Me!”. That only happens when the perfect combination of ingredients are blended and your emotions rise to a point of ecstasy. You simply learn by trial and error to understand which ingredients work best for you.

When viewing my photographs one must understand that in order to capture these images of total tranquility, I have adrenalin pumping through my body whilst hanging out of a helicopter at up to 3000 metres above the land. It's somewhat like taming a lion, the final result is only a fraction of the whole.

3. What is your favourite photograph that you've shot to date?

My favourite photograph is My next one, I just can't wait for that sensation of looking at my latest  favourite. Having said that, there is a photograph that is very special to me, and one that I consult every day. A portrait of an old man taken in Ouarzazate in Marocco, I had to endure a twelve hour bus journey with goats!) waiting for the right moment for the shot.

My reward was one of the strongest emotions that I've received from a photo, each time I lift my head from my computer, there he is staring at me with his penetrating eyes, in which you can see a reflection of me photographing him. I don't even know his name but he became my speechless Guru, I may sound mad (probably I am!), but he communicates with me and calms me when I'm frustrated, just staring into these bottomless eyes makes me smile from the inside out.

4. What do you hope to convey to others via your photography?

I more or less answered this in the first questions. For me the answer is Emotions.

In the case of my aerial art photography “Earthscapes”, they should amaze, intrigue and arouse curiosity within the viewer, they enable you to see the landscape from a different point of view, where the interaction of man and mother nature combine to create gigantic works of Contemporary Art, this in itself should convey an emotion and act as a stimulus into observing the landscape from a different perspective, soaking in the artistic beauty of our surroundings.

To quote a famous phrase of Marcel Proust; “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes”

5. Do you look at the world wondering how it would look as a photograph?

I couldn't look at it in any other way, my world is made up of millions of photographs full of special moments of time and breathtaking beauty just waiting to be frozen by the “black magic box”. Our memories fade and sometimes get lost on our travel through life, a photograph captures these memories to be relived time and time again, my world without photography would be like a boat without water.

Drop by Mark's website or for further information or enquiries, email Mark at

He's got an amazing photographic collection.

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