Interview: Elliot Cooper
Rucksack Magazine presents Elliot Cooper; a professional photographer from South Wales, United Kingdom. Our interview provides an interesting insight into his creative process and we discuss how he developed his passion for photography. He offers thoughtful advice to budding photographers and discusses his favourite locations to shoot, as well as sharing his future travel plans with us. We have featured a small collection of his stunning photography throughout this article. Follow Elliot Cooper on Instagram and visit his portfolio to view more of his work.
Can you tell us more about your background – how did you get into the industry?
Sure! I'm 21 years old and live in South Wales, UK. I picked up a DSLR just over a year ago. Previously I'd always shot what I could with my iPhone but desperately wanted to pursue photography properly. Even before I started shooting I loved being outdoors and exploring places, so it seemed a perfect fit to photograph what I loved! Wales as you may know has some remarkable scenery so that gave me a huge kickstart! The biggest reason I started and keep going is the Instagram community. I follow so many talented photographers, and a year ago to now that's what my feed is filled with, incredible daily photography. I reached out to other photographers, got outside as often as I could and did my upmost to craft out my own style, which I hope I'm slowly managing!
What professional work have you completed?
I'm without a doubt still very early on in the professional side of Photography. I've been incredibly fortunate with the opportunities I've had already however! So far I've worked with some superb brands. One being an ongoing commission for an adventure savoury snack company called 'Fori', each month we shoot based around a theme. I've also shot a website campaign for a local wine company. I'm currently shooting some social media content for two wristwatch companies, one American and the other Scottish which is both exciting and challenging. One of my favourite shoots so far was a live music shoot (an area I didn't think I'd ever shoot in). The energy and pace of that environment is addictive and exhilarating! I can see why people love music photography so much. Next up I hope to be shooting with a very well established water company here in Wales. We're in the planning stages at the moment but that's something I'm very much stoked on.
What is your favourite travel destination?
I haven't had the opportunity to travel abroad too much since starting photography. My favourite location I've been to so far however has to be the Scottish Highlands! That place is unbelievable. It has some pretty popular locations made famous through Instagram and to see them in person is always a treat. In particular the Glencoe area of the Highlands is spellbinding. They filmed quite a bit of the Harry Potter films there too, so it was pretty gnarly to stand in some of those locations. I cannot recommend Scotland enough!
What is your favourite location to shoot?
That's a tough question! I'm torn between the Brecon Beacons National Park here in Wales & the Jurassic Coast in England. They're both endlessly beautiful but I'll have to choose the Brecon Beacon's purely because I spend most of my time there! It's stunning.
What is your favourite style of photography?
Outdoor/Lifestyle/Landscape Photography without a doubt.
What was it that attracted you to landscape photography in particular?
The sense of scale and awe is a big draw for me. There's no feeling quite like standing amongst mountains and truly feeling how small and how lucky you are.
Which images would you say have been the most significant for you in your career so far?
Another tough question! I don't feel like any of them in particular have been 'the one' but I definitely have my favourites and ones that have shared the most attention online such as the ones I have included here.
What items are a must in your kit?
Camera wise, I wouldn't leave the house without my Canon 24-70 2.8 ii L lens, that glass is a beast! Recently I'd include my DJI Phantom drone, I've only recently flown it for the first time and it's so rad. Other than that a sturdy pair of boots is an absolute must, same goes for a coat, it gets pretty cold here in Wales! Oh and snacks... always pack snacks.
How would you say social media contributes to your work?
I'd say social media (Instagram in particular) contribute massively to my work, especially with my influences. I only need to flick through and I'll find some immense inspiration! It's allowed my to connect with so many incredible people/photographers. I'd say I've met 90% of my photography buddies through Instagram, and most of them now have become good friends. Without a doubt I wouldn't have half of the work I do if it wasn't for that platform either, it's one of the most beneficial portfolio platforms in my eyes. It's also importantly given me an audience, it's a wonderful feeling to know that there'll be people to share my work with, anytime of the day. It really does drive you to get back out there and keep adventuring/shooting!
Where would you like to travel to in the future?
I don't think there's enough room for the list! I'll try and narrow it down. Very soon I hope to travel to Iceland with some photographers and adventure around that magnificent place. I need to see Canada at some point too, specifically Alberta, Banff & Jasper National Parks look magnificent. My hitlist is as follows: Switzerland, Norway, Austria, Germany, Italy, USA, Faroe Islands & Finland, to name a few!
What is one piece of advice you could give to a fellow photographer?
One piece of advice would be to never take yourself too seriously and love what you do. Remember to always take your photo's for yourself, not just to please others!