Cotton Coulson & Sisse Brimberg
“Everyday we wake up and try to capture the world around us in a new and unique way. We love the process of using photography to interpret what we experience and sharing our work with others.”
It is with deep regret that we say goodbye to Cotton Coulson, who died on 27 May 2015 during a routine diving incident. Our sincere condolences go out to his surviving family, friends and his other half, Sisse Brimberg.
As a team, Cotton and Sisse possessed undeniable passion for the subjects and events they photographed. We have no doubt that this passion is survived in Sisse and we will look forward to seeing her future work. The Remains story featured here was one of Cotton and Sisse’s ongoing personal projects, documenting the devastating effects humans have on our landscape.
About / Biography
Sisse and Cotton’s work is imaginative and unique, always striving to interpret the world in a new and unique way. Much of their work transcends into the abstract, a fine sense of poetry and humor pervades in their work. This explains more why their work can be seen to move between the abstract and the narrative. They also like to puzzle the viewer by placing their subjects out of context. The key to this dimension is a childlike imagination combined with a irrepressible delight in visual exploration.
Their work has been featured in National Geographic, The Economist, Smithsonian, TIME Magazine, as well as a number of corporate clients including IBM, Nemours Foundation, and United Airlines.
Describe the moment you knew photography changed your life
We both started taking photos at a very young age, Sisse began when she was 12 years old, and Cotton was 14. We each had individual mentors that introduced us to the magic of how photography could change our lives, and enable us see the world in a unique way. It turns out we each had our own share of learning disabilities, and photography has been the key for our success in life and giving us a strong sense of creative satisfaction.
If you could sum up your work in one word or one sentence, what would that be?
What is the most remarkable person, place or thing you have ever photographed and why?
As we have each been contributing to National Geographic over the past decades, we have had numerous opportunities to be sent to far flung destinations, some of them being photographing the Lascaux Caves in Dordogne, France, the tiny nation of Tuva in Central Asia, and most recently, an expedition to the Kimberly's in the Northwest frontier of Australia. We also love spending much of our time in Antarctica and in Svalbard, Norway - we each suffer a good case of ‘polar fever.’ They are also the locations where we have been able to record changes in nature over time.
Talk to us about your bucket list... what is on the top of that list of things to photograph?
For the past ten years, we have been working on a project, “As Black as Coal, as White as Snow” documenting the contrast between human debris and the pristine landscape as it reveals itself in polar regions. This project is a high priority initiative given the increase in global warming and the pollution of the oceans. We also plan this year to visit and work in China. It’s been on our bucket list for a long time.
If you had not become a photographer, what might you be today?
Cotton would have continued his passion to become a filmmaker, and Sisse would have become a costume designer.
Give us your thoughts about the Global Imaging Ambassadors program?
It provides a great vehicle for the public to follow some of the important photography being shot all over the globe. The technology Sony is coming out with is game-changing and its great to have their support behind our projects. What more could we wish for!
What is your favorite Sony camera of the moment?
Right now we both absolutely love to work with the SONY A6000, along with the Zeiss 24mm 1.8. It’s so compact, fast and responsive, perfect for up close street photography.
Describe what kind of photographer you consider yourself to be.
We are both coming from a strong documentary background, however deep inside we are fine art photographers who have been using this medium throughout of working careers to shoot and publish our unique vision of the world.