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Photograph: 'Chairs at Bodie,' © Amy Cooper

Chairs at Bodie

Capturing a human absence.
By Amy Cooper
Winter 2007 11.1.07

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Chairs at Bodie. © Amy Cooper. Color photograph, 35 mm (Ricoh XR-M).

Amy Cooper says Chairs at Bodie “seems to be the favorite of many folks, and people’s response to this particular photo is what propelled me into becoming a photographer. It was taken at a ghost town in California called Bodie.” The subject matter is familiar. She says, “I am a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, an old steel town, and I’ve noticed that I retain a fascination for old industrial spaces; I feel at home amidst the hues of rust and old wood and stormy weather. My photography makes frequent reference to ghost towns, whether actual or imaginary. I like to capture places where people once were but now are gone, where what is left is a reassertion of nature. People often comment that my photographs look like paintings, and that I make the ordinary seem interesting.”

Cooper also works in other media: “My sculptural and mixed-media work takes a more organic form, incorporating natural materials with discarded items I find while walking around town or on the beach. My paintings are from a completely other place, one that is much more emotional, volatile, and explosive with color. Overall, I believe my work has a wistful but hopeful energy in it that is an expression of my love for this world.”

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