How did you first get involved in the arts?
I was involved in music at an early age. By the time I was 18 I had played at Lincoln Center, The Canadian arts center, Madison Sq Garden, Disney World and half time for the Giants, Eagles and Cowboys. I worked in the family business as a commercial/fine art silk screener and graphic designer in junior and senior HS.
At age 13-23 worked as a freelance photographer for Golf and tennis Digest. I was a music major my 1st year in college and transferred and changed majors. I graduated with a BFA in Art Ed and another BFA in Photography.
What is your latest project?
I am always working on portrait commissions for clients as well as commercial assignments for marketing and websites. I just completed the “14th Annual Helping Milford Grow Exhibit."
The 14th Annual photographic exhibition “Helping Milford Grow” by Master Craftsman Photographer Steve M. Cooper.
“Helping Milford Grow” honors members of the Community who have a positive effect on Milford educationally, artistically, economically, morally or politically. Featured honoree portraits were created in their own unique environment s that captures the essence of the honoree’s contributions to our community. It’s a great way for the people of Milford to connect the names and faces together with the activities we hear and read about.
Over the past 14 exhibits the show has featured over 200 honorees including some of the most influential people of our state that influence Milford including Governors, Senators, Congressional Representatives, business and non-profit executives, educators,artists, clergy and more. Many of those images had been selected by a photographic jury to hang in the International Photographic exhibit of the Professional Photographers of America.
This year’s honorees are Mayor Ben Blake, Senator Gayle Slossberg, Bishop Jay Ramirez, MaryAnn Wasil-Nilan, Superintendant of Schools Elizabeth Feser, Paul Otzel, Dr. Mitch Quintner, Police Chief Keith Mellow, Jay Rowe, Bob Macklin, Elaina Fusco, Chris Mills, Vincent Lambiase, Joseph Pelaccia, Harry Garafalo and Suzanne Manning.
What advice do you wish you'd received when you first got started?
The same advice I now give to aspiring photographers.
A) Major in Business and Minor in art/photography
B) After graduation do not open a studio. Work as an unpaid intern for the best photographer you can connect with. Preferably one that has been around a while and has the respect of his/her peers as an artist, technician and business person.
C) After that, decide if you are passionate about the art of photography.
D) Continue to learn; attend seminars, join professional state and National associations, enter professional competitions.
E) Learn from others but develop a style that is your own and distinguishes you from others.
F) Charge enough to make a living or getout as you just hurt yourself and the business as a whole.
To many people buy a camera and have no idea about business, have no experience and no education and call themselves professionals. If I buy a scalpal it does not make me a doctor.
Who are some local artists people should check out?
We have some incredible artists and Galleries in the area. Here are a few of my favorites:
a) Denise Morris Curt (painter) http://www.meettheartistsandartisans.com/
b) IvanTirado (sculpture) http://ivantirado.com/
c) Blank Space Gallery (original Limited Editions) Broad St. https://www.facebook.com/BlankSpaceGalleryLtd
Visit Steve M. Cooper online at www.smcooper.com