Robbie Cooper is a photographer and videographer who mixes his artistic work with an ethnographic eye and a neuroanthrological sensibility. After all, this is someone who goes from Gilles Deleuze to Paul Ekman as he describes his work!
As a photographer Robbie has recently focused on capturing our digital representation of our selves – the avatars we create in online worlds like Everquest and World of Warcraft. Previously he had done photojournalism in Africa. As a video artist, he shoots stunning and provocative video, capturing people in some of their most intimate, involved moments with a clear and human-centered approach.
He published his avatar photographs in the glossy book The Alter Ego, featuring portraits and bios of gamers from the United States, Europe, China, and Japan. You can read more about the book in reviews by Colin Pantall and Escapist Magazine, as well as read this interview with Robbie and his co-author and listen to some good coverage of Alter Ego on NPR.
On his homepage you can access a good slice of these pictures, complete with a text overview you can all up. This is the Alter Ego series in the Immersion side of his work. For just the photos you can go directly to this slideshow from the NY Times.
The NY Times also featured his Immersion video, which captured young gamers as they played. The portrayal of their involvement is intimate and intense, and I recommend either the Times video for the quality (you can also get even better video on Robbie’s homepage through the Immersion – but it’s a few more clicks).
The Immersion video is also up on YouTube so I’ve embedded it below. Alongside the video, you can see the Immersion photo series on Robbie’s website – it’s there in the Immersion link after you click on Simulations.
His latest work builds on the Immersion approach. This time it’s Immersion – Porn (yes, you can get the video on that link). In this video informants introduce themselves and then we get to see their own immersion into themselves, top-up only. It was produced exclusively for Wallpaper.
I’ve also been enjoying his Immersion blog. Of late he’s had a humorous take on Ekman’s emotional faces, an intense video of close combat in Iraq, and babies as challenging both science and philosophy.