Unless noted, all images ©Ron Cooper
This is Dek Unu Magazine. In Esperanto, dek unu means "eleven." Eleven images from a single artist. Eleven artists in eleven solo issues in each publication year. Dek Unu publishes the work of a new artist-photographer in each issue. The artist's work and words are featured alone and in individual focus as the sole purpose for each issue of the magazine. Unlike other arts and letters magazines which might look for work from a variety of artists to support an editorial staff's theme, at Dek Unu, theme and imagery are always each artist's own.
At a time in US, and world, history when narrow-mindedness, jingoism, and chauvinism are increasingly considered political and social advantages, it is a privilege to highlight the work and words of Ron Cooper. In his 15-year career, he has made photos of the people from five continents and more than 45 countries that show a world in which cultures other than affluent America exist in complex, creative, dignified interdependence. He uses ordinary camera and computer equipment with extraordinary person-to-person communication skills to establish engaged and engaging collaborations with people from India to Peru, Thailand to Guatemala, Romania to New Mexico.
Although, by its nature, photography both records and informs the memories and aspirations of societies, Cooper is most interested in the ways that photography celebrates the individuals whose unique lives and personalities actually populate their societies and the world. In its focus on the specifics, this work provides an antidote to nativism, denial of history, and easy answers to complex problems by allowing us to see others more deeply as co-occupants of a planet that needs all the mutual understanding and creative collaboration that it can get. To paraphrase Edward Steichen’s assessment of photography in general, Ron Cooper’s images reveal both the beauty and confusion that man has created and his work is a clear voice in explaining man to man.