Cooper, Neil, fl. 1980-2005 (photographer)
- Existence: fl. 1980 - 2005
Neil Cooper developed an early interest in photography, which was prompted by winning a camera at the age of 12 and led him to a full-time photographic course at Plymouth College of Arts, Devon. He spent the next 11 years working in education, at Exeter University and Dartington College of Arts, teaching, photographing campus activities and managing the photographic department. The year 1980 saw a change in direction when he and his partner, Jan Hammond, spent 2 years travelling the world, visiting Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, the South Pacific and the Americas, taking pictures along the way.
During his time in India, meetings with Tibetan refugees led to a chain of events that completely changed his personal and working life. In 1983 Neil was commissioned to spend one year visiting 23 Tibetan settlements, documenting refugee life in India and Nepal after 25 years in exile. From this he produced an exhibition "Remember Tibet" which was shown in the UK and Europe. In Switzerland the exhibition was blessed and opened by H.H. the Dalai Lama. Through his pictures he raised funds to completely re-roof a Himalayan settlement, refurbish and staff a home for elderly Tibetans in south India and to start the building of a boarding school for the children of poor road workers in a remote area near Darjeeling. His commitment to promoting awareness of the social problems of refugees and the political situation in Tibet continues to this day.
Since 1985 Neil has undertaken photographic commissions overseas and in the UK for British Aid Agencies, covering development work in 35 countries worldwide. Occasional lectures on his work at Plymouth College of Art have inspired many students to follow in his footsteps and he has taken photography/film students on overseas work experience trips to Mozambique, Bangladesh, Nepal and Belize. Two of them subsequently won a national television award for a film shot during their trip to Central America. Neil's photographs and articles have been published in most major newspapers, Microsoft Encarta and countless magazines worldwide, and he continues to travel and work overseas.
Neil Cooper's own short biography available from: http://www.neilcooper.co.uk/biography/Biography.htm [Accessed 17 January 2005].