Water Mill

Thomas Joshua Cooper, Moonrise over Montauk—The North Atlantic Ocean, Montauk Point, “The End,” East Hampton Township, (South Fork) Suffolk County, Long Island, New York, 2016–2017, gelatin silver print, 30 × 40".

Thomas Joshua Cooper

Parrish Art Museum

Yes, a photograph is of some thing or some place. But what sort of relationship is covered by that little word of? Thomas Joshua Cooper’s work reminds us just how mysterious the link between a picture and its subject can be.

Cooper is exceedingly deliberate in choosing what to capture. His decisions involve painstaking historical research. A long-term project of his has been to make pictures along all the coastlines of the Atlantic Ocean. In pursuit of opportunities to do so, he has—as the Parrish Art Museum’s director, Terrie Sultan, explains in the catalogue for this exhibition, “Refuge”—“journeyed to the southernmost point of Africa, the edges of Antarctica, and the top of South America, moving about in conveyances including Soviet icebreakers, airplanes, helicopters, cars, trucks, and his own two feet.” All that tramping around, and with cumbersome equipment—a field camera built in

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