An early interest in photography prompted by winning a camera at 12 years old, led Neil to a photographic degree course at Plymouth College of Arts, Devon. UK. He then spent 11 years working in photographic education at Exeter University and Dartington College of Arts, UK.
1980 saw a change in direction when he spent 2 years travelling the world, visiting Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, the South Pacific and the Americas, taking pictures along the way.
During his time in India, meetings with Tibetan refugees led to a chain of events that completely changed his working life. In 1983 Neil was commissioned to spend one year documenting refugee life in 23 Tibetan settlements in India & Nepal; this was to commemorate the 25th anniversary of their flight from the brutal Chinese occupation of Tibet. From this he produced an exhibition "Remember Tibet" which was shown in the UK and Europe.
In Switzerland the exhibition was opened & blessed by H.H. the Dalai Lama.
Through further exhibitions funds were raised to completely re-roof a Himalayan settlement, refurbish and staff a home for elderly Tibetans and to start the building of a boarding school for the children of poor road workers in a remote area near Darjeeling.
His commitment to promoting awareness of the social problems of refugees and the political situation in Tibet continues to this day. The 'Neil Cooper Picture Library' contains a comprehensive collection of images of everyday Tibetan life from over 30 refugee settlements in India & Nepal.
Since 1985 Neil has undertaken photographic commissions overseas and in the UK for British Aid Agencies, covering development work in 35 countries world-wide.
Neil's photographs are lodged with commercial libraries - Panos Pictures (London), Alamy (worldwide), Lineair (Holland) and The Royal Commonwealth Society(UK)
As a regular visiting lecturer to Plymouth College of Art Neil has inspired many students to follow in his footsteps. He has taken photography/film sudents on overseas work experience trips to Mozambique, Bangladesh, Nepal, Honduras and Belize. Two of them subsequently won a National TV award for a film shot during their trip to Central America. Neils' photographs and articles have been published in most major newspapers, reproduced in hundreds of books, educational DVD's & countless magazines world-wide, he continues to travel and work overseas.
All images on this
site are Copyrighted © Neil Cooper