John Coplans | the artist




The artist John Coplans
Born 1920, London, England.

Style and technique of the artist: Photography,

© artist photo: Malcolm Lubliner


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Self Portrait (Hands spread Fingers)
English photographer, painter, writer and curator. He took his first photographs in 1941, whilst serving in the King’s African Rifles in Ethiopia. On his return to London in 1946 he studied painting at various art schools, and had a first exhibition of his tachiste-influenced abstract paintings at the New Visions Centre Gallery, London, in 1957…
I don’t know how it happens, but when I pose for one of these photographs, I become immersed in the past. It is akin to Alice falling through the looking glass. I use no props; I pose against a neutral, white background, and before I know what has happened, I am lost in a reverie; I am somewhere else, another person in another life. At times Iím in my youth. Sometimes (but very rarely), it seems that a contemporary event triggers the image, but when I think about it, I realize I have merely relived an episode that happened long before. The process is a strange one. I never know from one moment to the next if this power to time-travel will dry up, or what the next set of photos will be. My prints are straightforward; only their size and sharpness are subject to adjustment.’
Legs Hands Together’ and other works
When John Coplans began photographing his aging body after he turned 60, he embarked on a documentation of age that is alternately humorous, reflective, and disquieting in the closeness of its observation…


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