Cooper Nash Blade (b. 1992) is an American photographer (B.A. Hons. BTK University of Applied Sciences, Art & Design, Berlin, 2017) currently based in the Skagit Valley, WA, USA. His work, which is documentary in nature, seeks to comment on our perception of the everyday and its connection to other topics such as love, banality, religion, humanism, skepticism, and materialism. After having taken an interest in ordinary language philosophy and especially with the writing of the American philosopher Stanley Cavell, Cooper has sought to find connections between the merit of Cavell’s texts and the photographs taken by William Eggleston, Stephen Shore, and Jeff Wall; who Cooper sees as chroniclers of the American everyday. Cavell’s reticence with unrelenting skepticism—while still being able to see benefits with skeptical strains in the history of philosophy—and his love of “the ordinary” began to relate to Cooper’s own skeptical voice which presented itself photographically in the work he was producing towards the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017, and the celebration of the everyday that he sought to express in that work. His most recent series of photographs was self published as a photo book titled, Überhaupt.
Photography seems to evoke the literary, for the practice of photographing has been intertwined with the written word since its conception. Because of this, Cooper has also sought to contribute to this sub-genre of philosophy and criticism. His essay, “Avoiding Reality,” was written as a companion piece to Überhaupt. The text evaluates the first half of Stanley Cavell’s book The Claim of Reason and seeks to compare its assessment of the paradox at the center of arguments on epistemology with arguments around the nature of photography. In a way, the essay asks a question that is then answered in Überhaupt.
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