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    The New Yorker | Dana Goodyear | 9/30/19 | 36 min
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    The New Yorker
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    • tdsimpson907 months ago

      Such incredible drive and passion toward a singular focus - very inspiring! This article also begs the question, is it possible to pursue a cause fully without harming the people who love you?

      • bill
        Top reader this weekTop reader of all timeScoutScribe
        7 months ago

        I just drafted (and deleted) a relatively-passionate (lol, is there such a thing?) comment about how unfair it is to pry into this guy's family life, but then I realized that if he was a she that's basically the ONLY thing we'd be talking about. So, ok, let's carry on; let's discuss the way this man shirked his family obligations for his art, lol. At the very least, he wasn't out chasing money & power. That's the reason that tons of dads, the world over, aren't ever around.

        • tdsimpson907 months ago

          I mean we can talk about them separately. We can talk about his art and the crazy things he did and the photos on their own and then we can talk about his family life but to talk about the person as a whole, I think you have to consider both. Also, maybe he wasn't seeking money and power, but I'm not sure his purposes were so noble. Could he not have also been seeking fame or recognition? Or did he have kids, get scared and flee out of fear of feeling "trapped"? And this whole time he's been running away?!

          • bill
            Top reader this weekTop reader of all timeScoutScribe
            7 months ago

            Totally possible. I must have approached this piece with basically zero cynicism - which, by the way, is pretty unusual for me!

            I don’t know how to explain or rationalize it, but I just completely feel like this is a true artist. I feel like this level of authenticity is impossible to fake. And that his passion and dedication seem utterly undeniable.

            I fear that we’re all so on the lookout for frauds and fakes these days that we’re not open to the idea that genuine artists still exist. They’re out there. I see them every day. In fact, right now, I’m at the library in Taos, New Mexico, sharing a large table with a ragged, “homeless-looking” (I despise that term, but I’m too lazy to think of something better) person who is drawing with colored pencils on scraps of paper. People like this give me a very specific kind of hope.

            • tdsimpson907 months ago

              Not sure if I agree with you but yes, I’m definitely being very cynical. I think I felt compelled to play devil’s advocate after your raving review. In terms of his authenticity, I think we equate sacrifice with “genuine” art for some reason - how hard it was to make, how much time one puts into it, how much skill it took to create, as if someone has to sacrifice something to make “real” art (like the trope of the starving artist we idolize). But does sacrifice incur value on art? I think it’s tempting to think his art is more valuable because he went through so much hardship to create it, lugging the heavy camera to incredibly remote places through dangerous conditions but why does that make it more valuable? Couldn’t he have taken an equally beautiful if not more beautiful image with a digital camera? Why take only one shot? Couldn’t he potentially make better photos, learn more, by taking more than one shot? It’s all very romantic but I think we appreciate the story behind the photos much more than the actual photos. I don’t think we would think they’re mind-blowing pieces of art if we just saw them at a museum or gallery.

    • bill
      Top reader this weekTop reader of all timeScoutScribe
      7 months ago

      One of the most inspiring things I’ve ever read in my life.

      I love New Yorker profiles in general, but this one feels extremely personal to me. I’ve been getting very passionate about photography recently. I feel a very strong sense of recognition and respect for this man and his work.

      Getting to LA to see the Atlas just became one of the most important to-dos in my life.

      So much to discuss. First: everyone read this!!

      • erica
        Scout
        7 months ago

        I can’t believe this piece ends in Point Dume.

        What a character. He has sacrificed a lot - his own safety, being part of his daughters’ lives - to travel to remote parts of the world and create art. Sounds like he has no regrets. He and his wife must have talked about how he planned to live before they got married, so she knew what she was signing up for. I love what she wrote: “There is no exploration without exile.”

        I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be the 9th person to ever set foot in a place.

        What a beautiful reminder: “It’s always there, you just have to be patient.”

        • tdsimpson907 months ago

          I have a similar feeling to Jeff, I definitely didn't like him as a person. I think it's extremely selfish to have kids and then disappear for 18 years. If you don't want to be there for a family, then don't have one. I had admiration for his drive, passion and persistence but I don't think what he did was right. He's done really cool things, and I actually really like the photos but I think he has a hugely inflated ego. I almost felt like he was trying really hard to fit this idea in his head of what a genius artist acts like and then do that.

          • bill
            Top reader this weekTop reader of all timeScoutScribe
            7 months ago

            I'm so thankful for all of these comments because I didn't think about any of this stuff while I was reading. I think I must have breezed past this paragraph...

            Cooper and Mooney have two daughters, Laura Indigo, who is twenty-four, and Sophie Alice, who is twenty-one. When Laura was two weeks old, Cooper left their home, in Glasgow, on a long voyage, setting a pattern that would persist. “I missed the entirety of my children growing up,” Cooper told me. “I was in the field for eighteen years.”

            ... and perhaps the reason it didn't stick with me was because this very next sentence wiped it all away:

            As an undergraduate, Cooper had come across Theodore Roethke’s poem “The Abyss,” and it stayed with him: “How can I dream except beyond this life? / Can I outleap the sea— / The edge of all the land, the final sea?”

            • tdsimpson907 months ago

              That poem is my favorite part of the article. I just posted the whole thing on Readup.

        • jeff
          Reading streakScoutScribe
          7 months ago

          You put is so much more kindly than I would have! His wife might have known what she was signing up for but his daughters didn't have a choice in the matter. I think he came off as a complete narcissist and a deadbeat dad and those pictures don't look like anything special to me.