Self Portrait, 1990


Born 1971, United Kingdom. Artist.

Graham CopeKoga is an artist interested in the concept of light with darkness and the ambiguity of the void, in the beauty and transformation of objects within a composition. He is exploring the notion of time, what it means to live in the eternal now and the transient beauty of the universal flow. Having lived in Japan, his work is influenced by the Japanese aesthetics of Yugen (幽玄) and Ma (間) and the work of Japanese author Junichiro Tanizaki (谷崎 潤一郎).

Beauty can be found in nature, but there is also a deeper beauty within us all, within the unconscious mind, an awakening within. As the artist Etel Adnan observes, "in art criticism, we don't mention beauty, it's 'demoed', out of fashion..." As the artist himself states; "I have a vision of beauty, which I try to harmonise in my work, according to my vision."

In his photography, CopeKoga again explores light and dark and his own idea of composition, which at times may seem at odds with contemporary practice. All his portraits are private self-commissioned with the subject and not taken through commercial work.

CopeKoga's portraits are mainly of artists (of all genres), intellectuals and scientists, which include; Professor Stephen Hawking, Sir Terence Conran, Joe Casely-Hayford, Margaret Howell, John Blakemore, Jason Collingwood, Mark Eley and Wakako Kishimoto, Sir Brian Clarke, Sir Terry Farrell, Lord Norman Foster, Natalie Gibson, Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, Akiko Hirai, Sir Michael Hopkins, Lady Patricia Hopkins, Gabriele Koch, Hajeong Lee, Jennifer Lee, Bruce Oldfield, Phil Rogers, Lord Richard Rogers, Yuta Segawa, Margo Selby, Geoffrey Swindell, Jake Tilson, Jo Tilson, Angela Verdon, Harriet Wallace-Jones and Emma Sewell, Kit Williams, Sir Alec Jeffreys, Sylvette David, Piers Gough, Shani Rhys James, Robin Levien, Maggi Hambling, Zandra Rhodes, Tanita Tikaram, Billy Childish, and Keiko Hasegawa.

Initially self-taught in the late 1980s, CopeKoga studied BA (Hons) Fine Art at the Nottingham Trent School of Art and Design, specialising in photography. He has an interest in traditional photographic print making and historical photographic methods using chemical-based techniques.

He considers the photographic image to be a pure form, touched only by light. He views digital photography to be computer imaging and not a photographic process – a world detached from the Camera obscura and reliant on algorithms and licensing. A world devoid of feeling and emotion.

All CopeKoga's work are printed in a darkroom to archival standards using traditional processes on vintage equipment. For CopeKoga, the subject and content of the work is the most important factor, as well as the craftsmanship and materials used in the realisation of a work.

CopeKoga's work has been published in The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, Flux magazine and featured on Al Jazeera, NBC, Fox News, ITV and BBC television amongst others. He teaches historical photography workshops at King's College, Cambridge, and previously at Trinity College, Cambridge, Trinity College, Oxford and St John's College, Oxford.

Please Note: CopeKoga holds disdain for amateur photographers and they social convention of small talk and will not engage in conversation about materials, processes or techniques. CopeKoga does not undertake freelance work in any regard. He is NOT intrested in giving talks or holding workshops. Any requests for freelance work, talks or workshops will be ignored.