John Coplans was a British artist who started taking photographs in 1941 in the war in Ethiopia. In London on his return in 1946 he studied painting and had numerous exhibitions in Europe. in 1960 he emigrated to America and started teaching at the University of California. And was an editor until 1977. In 1978 he began taking photographs again and forgot about his other artistic interests.
In 1984 began taking photographs of his own body when he established his international reputation as an artist.
He photographed his body after he turned 60, and examined various body parts closely trying to create artistic postures with his body into 4×5 inch black and white Polaroid photographs, these images showed honest and detailed photographs of the ageing process, which people didn’t want to know about in those days because it was a bit of a prohibited subject at the time they were exhibited.
Coplan cropped off the head to show these images of the body as an intriguing object. He is known to have said he wants to be ‘everyman’ which is why he depersonalises his images, as the male ageing process was an unspoken subject at the time he felt that he needed to show that everyone goes through it and its not something to dread, he made it look more interesting by distorting his body and made it look more like and artistic sculpture