For more than two decades, Brad Cole has addressed the mystery of human presence in photographs and films utilizing a visual vocabulary that is cinematic and musical, constantly moving and simultaneously quiescent. Cole's imagery escapes time and appearances in order to delve beneath surface experience and engage the observer at core levels of dream and myth.
Primarily using an early-1900s 5"x7" view camera, Cole is a master of the darkroom and hand-crafts silver-based prints of exquisitely rich and seductive tonalities. This traditional approach also provides a base for film, sound and other works. Cole sometimes employs books, motion picture cameras, and slide/dissolve projections, that advance his lyric images into epic sequences. Work in one medium supports inventiveness in another, and such interplay releases metaphorical potentials that Cole describes as "latent sequences―paths that emerge following a visual structure that begins to form as the original images are made."
Born in Los Angeles in 1957, Cole is largely self-taught in all media. He has lived and worked on the Monterey Peninsula for more than thirty years and completed his first large-scale prints in the darkroom of Ansel Adams. Cole credits this life at the edge of the ocean as his primal resource. His various projects expand beyond subject matter to an awareness of the spiritual elements that interconnect life and art. Particular influences include mythologist Joseph Campbell, filmmaker Andrey Tarkovsky, photographers Wynn Bullock, Minor White, and Timothy O'Sullivan. In 2001, Cole was named Artist of the Year by the Center for Photographic Art.