Exclusive Interview with Cooper Dodds ’13

4 June 2013

Interview (via email) with Studio Art major Cooper Dodds ’13 about his trip last summer, made possible through a Carleton Independent Research Grant and help from the photography professor Linda Rossi:


Leigh: So, could you give me a summary of your trip, why you went, what you studied?

Cooper: I photographed national parks in the pacific northwest, as well as Colorado, Utah, and Montana. I’ve spent some time in the west, but never as far as the coast. This trip gave me an opportunity to visit some of the places pictured in the work of Carleton Watkins,  Timothy O’Sullivan, Ansel Adams – and many other modern and contemporary photographers – as well as provide my own photographic take on the experience.


L: How did you come up with the idea for your proposal?

C: Since coming to Carleton, I’ve found myself consistently driving west during breaks, so it was only natural for me to combine that passion for hitting the road with my developing photographic interest. 


L: Where did you sleep?

C: I was camping in the parks, but when it wasn’t convenient to set up my tent (mainly during long, overnight drives), I would sleep in my car, a Subaru named Gladys.


L: Where can we see your work?

(Cooper had a show earlier in the year displaying his work, and most of it is currently on display in the Weitz Gallery, so this question is for the online crowd)

C: I’ve got a website (cargocollective.com/cooperdodds) that displays this project as well as some of my other photographic work.


What do you feel you learned?

C: I learned that if you’re going to be sleeping in your car in bear country, make sure to remove your food. I was traveling with several different cameras, some of which I had never used before, so my skill with a film camera certainly improved. And because I was shooting film, and couldn’t process my images along the way, I learned to be patient.


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