AmericaCityCity and Country by Alex Cooke

Alex Cooke is a portrait, events, and landscape photographer from Cleveland, OH. A musician and mathematician, he found that his artistic inclinations and obsessive attention to detail suited him perfectly to photography.

Alex Cooke is a portrait, events, and landscape photographer from Cleveland, OH. A musician and mathematician, he found that his artistic inclinations and obsessive attention to detail suited him perfectly to photography. 

He’s also an editor and senior writer for the popular photography site, Stoppers. To him, photography is a way to communicate intention, character and emotion. Particularly, when shooting landscapes or cityscapes, he strives for a certain organic nature; he wants his shots to emanate both the mood of the natural environment in which they were captured and to maintain a high degree of faithfulness to the original scene. For this reason, he tends toward simpler compositions of an almost documentarian nature.

His post-processing style reflects his desire to maintain the organic nature of a scene in that it is specific to each image. In daytime landscapes, he tends toward crisp, vivid colors, while in winter and nighttime images, his palette becomes more muted. Many of his compositions tend to use collinear opposing elements, whether that be a lighthouse and the setting sun, a skyscraper and a cloud bank, or a fiery sky and subdued pool of water. He sees less of a consistent thread of post-processing style and rather a consistent post-processing philosophy: amplifying the original scene in a way that enhances the already present mood.

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In terms of equipment, he uses a myriad of tools to get the image depending on the situation. His main setup is a Canon 5D Mark III paired with various lenses, but the images you see here have also been created with a point and shoot, as well as film cameras. He notes that he loves to shoot sky compositions with Fuji films, as he feels their color reproduction matches his philosophy on shooting perfectly.

More recently, he has taken a heavy interest in drones. The ability to use both angles of view and to access previously inaccessible areas has invigorated his compositions and increased his interest in the geometry of them. His post-processing style with drone shots remains very much same as his others: crisp, vivid colors and an attention to an organic mood in the scenes he captures.

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The “City and Country” project is an ongoing series in which he seeks to present simply crafted images of both the natural and manmade world in a way that evokes in the viewer the same emotions he felt when he was physically present in those places. It has included images from rural Ohio, Cleveland, Chicago, Los Angeles, Paris, Florida, Paris, and Italy. The idea of a uniform style in the images does not interest him, as he views each photo as a tableau of the time and place in which it was captured, as if a miniature trip for the viewer. Much like the unique identity of each place he visits, so too does each photo have its own unique identity. This can be seen in the vast choices of gear and post-processing style he has employed in the creation of these images.

Cooke also has a strong interest in creative philosophy and mathematics. He is currently working toward two doctorates in music composition and applied mathematics and frequently uses his knowledge of both in photographic pursuits. He often uses geometric constructions in his compositions, while his creative philosophies on music also guide him in the creation of his photos and vice versa. He thinks of mathematical logic and creative philosophy as two sides of the same coin and constantly seeks to unite the two in all his endeavors. When he’s not immersed in photography, mathematics, or music, Cooke is also an avid equestrian. [Official Website]

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