We had the good fortune of connecting with Jonathan Cooper and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jonathan, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Not caring can be risky depending on the intention and impact. A lot of us don’t take risks out of fear. Stepping into the unknown can be terrifying because we’re so accustomed to worrying about what the other people will think. In order to grow into the person you’re destined to be, removing fear of judgement is a major part of taking risks, and it’s extremely beneficial on the back end. For me, taking risks is a daily practice for someone who has been playing it safe, and it really shows. I feel it in my body, and I see it through my work. It’s important that everyday, we do one thing we’re terrified to do. There’s so much joy when you’re operating from a place of abundance, than the dark clouds of fear.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think with photography in general, everyone has a different perspective. Speaking from my own, it’s important for me to be teachable. I don’t know everything, and there’s so much room to grow. It’s a constant build that I honestly look forward to every breathing moment. That right there is something that I think separates me from others as well as utilizing my gift to uplift and help others. The journey hasn’t been easy at all. Operating out of survival mode had me doing any and everything. Things that I’d definitely say “no” to. There are a lot of people and companies that prey on creatives who don’t know better. Knowing my worth has helped tremendously. Being in situations where others seen my worth and hoped that I didn’t left me in a vulnerable position to be taken advantage of. It’s a dangerous place to be when you’re thinking every opportunity is a good one. Exposure isn’t always good. Exposure to the wrong people will leave you depleted and have you feeling defeated. Putting my pride to the side and asking questions helped overcome a lot of challenges. We can’t always assume. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. Some of the lessons I learned were the importance of saying NO, slowing down the pace, and understanding the value within self.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There’s so much ground to cover in Atlanta that I find it hard to pick any. If we’re going for a great vibe and great cocktails, I have to give it to Parlor, The James Room, and Bar Margot. Those places never disappoint, and the atmosphere is really dope! I’ll pay for your drinks if you tell me you hated it. Just kidding, because that’s not gonna happen! Apt 4B is great for drinks as well, but their food is crazy good! There’s been times that I went there twice in a weekend. The Consulate is another gem that I thoroughly enjoy if you want a quiet and cozy spot with phenomenal food. Still itching to explore more though.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I definitely wanna give a major shoutout to my tribe who speak life into me and inspire the fire. It’s also important to give a shoutout to those who trust me to create with and for them. I say that a lot, but it goes a long way for someone who actively worked on building confidence and striving to be the best version of self. Most importantly, I have to take the time to shoutout Black women for that undying love and support. They are the most underrepresented, unprotected, overlooked, and undervalued. For me personally, it’s that nurturing love, wisdom, and support that keeps me afloat. Not only that, there’s so many talented Black women who are really doing captivating things, that I wouldn’t hesitate to drop their names in a room full of opportunities.
Portrait of me was photographed by Joshua Galloway. Images of my work was photographed by me.