The word ‘vedas’ means knowledge in Sanskrit and Nicolas Alan Cope and Dustin Edward Arnold who work under the moniker Cope/Arnold created this beautiful photographic series with the same name in 2011, wanting to challenge ideas of what is acceptable against what is possible. The Los Angeles-based design duo Cope/Arnold cited their influence to be ‘De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium’, Copernicus’ 16th century scientific document that denounced the Earth as the centre of the universe, which transcends through religious visual language and the sentiment of entrapment vs enlightenment. Chambers, hallways and corners resonate with sensuality; architectural elements take on a humanized significance within their space. Textures are explored in fine detail, but it is really light that has the most mass. Mesh cloaks and structured veils conjure ghostly apparitions. White buckram, a thick mesh cloth made from cotton, is pulled taut around stiff wire structures to create circular headdresses. Shapes like this cover and frame different areas of the face and head, then are left to drape down to the floor. The result is both haunting as aesthetic and plain stunning.
We were sure to begin with materials that had enough tensile strength to be both pliable and hold shape. We wanted to restrain the palette by focusing entirely on form rather than color. It signified a paradigm shift in how humanity views itself in relationship to the rest of the world.
Raised in Maryland, Nicholas Alan Cope moved to Los Angeles in 2004 and attended Art Center College of Design. Since graduating Nicholas has worked for a number of commercial and editorial clients while also working on personal projects. His amazing first book Whitewash was released by powerHouse Books in April of 2013 and blew us away since we laid eyes on it. Dustin Edward Arnold on the other end divides his time between commercial endeavors as a creative director and his collaborative work as the photographic team Cope/Arnold. Dustin views image making as an extension of sculpture, often crafting an image’s content conceptually, physically and digitally through pre and post production as a part of his working practice.
Both with varying backgrounds in photography and design Nicholas and Dustin started working as Cope/Arnold after they met through a commercial project in 2007 and with their first official collaboration in October of 2009. Each working beyond their respective discipline they combine the mediums of painting, chemistry, sculpture, fashion and installation as a part of their image-making process. Their first project Putesco (2009) explores classical composition and aesthetics through decomposing still lives. Aether (2010) is a mixture of painting, chemistry and photography, dealing with perception of the abstract. Stamen (2010) takes that same interest in the abstract applied to conventional floral arrangements, while Vedas (2011) marked their move into fashion imagery through photographing sculptural garments of their own design.
For more information and other beautiful work see here.