See Artist Statement and Biography Sections for detailed, full versions.
Cossey enjoys exploring all types of photography but leans toward the environmental and transformational in natural and available light. Images are crafted using a combination of photographic technique, deep intuition and appreciative inquiry of the subject. To complete the creative process, the image is shared with the viewer to evoke an aesthetic response in the ever-constant present. He has work in private collections in Canada, the US and the UK.
Cossey is an internationally recognized Master Photographer in Fine Art. He studied photography at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and the New York Institute of Photography, receiving an Award of Merit from the latter.
He explores the familiar with new eyes to celebrate the mystery. Cossey’s photography captures what he sees and feels in that unique moment when he releases the shutter and creates the image. He is influenced by his emotional guidance system and inspired by the images and words of the master light painters.
Cossey uses a single lens reflex digital camera with prints made from high quality printers, inks and papers. Images are crafted in camera with a minimum of post-production to achieve a compelling statement and an engaging visual experience.
He had his first major solo exhibition in 2011 followed by others in 2013 and 2015. He has participated in 55 group exhibitions since 2010. From 2010 to 2017, Cossey was an exhibiting member of ViewPoint Gallery of Contemporary Photography, an artist-run, non-profit co-operative where he was a Board Member and Director of Exhibitions and Portfolio Reviews. ViewPoint Gallery provides space for members to exhibit and market their work. The Gallery also promotes the art and best practices of photography in the community through new monthly shows, opening receptions, workshops, print reviews, artist talks and other public events.
Cossey lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada with his wife Penny and children Alyson and Sean.
For more information and to arrange interviews and showings, please contact the artist at: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 902.266.5869
"Phantoms of the Forest" Exhibition Review by Patrice Dong, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, December 12, 2015
Keith Michael Cossey is a Canadian photographer whose works are exhibited in Phantoms of the Forest in the ViewPoint Gallery in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This solo exhibition ran from November 4th to 29th, 2015. Cossey was inspired by “the energy and vibrancy of new life and resurrection in natural and urban forests” (Cossey’s Artist Statement). His photographs capture the spirit and inner power of trees and create interaction between the audience and the show.
There are twenty-one photographs all named Phantoms of the Forest in numerical order hanging on four walls. I knew from the Artist Talk that these photos were mainly taken at the Public Gardens, Point Pleasant Park and in Cape Breton in 2015. They are arranged by their composition, content, color and dimension. The photos all have trees as the subject; motion blurs and Photoshop effects such as layers of masks and changing opacity were applied to all the images.
Movements around a focal point are created in each photo in order to present the vibrancy of life. Lines produced from darkroom techniques in each image direct the audience’s eyes. The lines are sharp and they seem to expand infinitely and aggressively on horizontal, vertical and diagonal axes. These lines blur parts of each tree so that the tree looks like it is extending and evaporating. The extended lines are like the energy coming from inside of the trees. They blend the trees with the sky; white lines seem to make the trees glow. Additionally, the opacity of the lines gradually decreases while the lines are getting blurrier towards the center of the forest images. The brightest white line is placed in the middle of the images. It seems to have the power and motion to absorb the audience into the image visually and mentally. In this way, movements are shown, thus the power releasing from the trees is successfully visualized.
The photographer made decisions on the blur and the direction of the lines to express his personal feeling and connection to the images. In the Artist Statement, we know that “the images are a personal, visual interpretation of the regenerative powers of forests.” He portrays his perception of the forests in the images in the show, which enables the audience to empathize with him.
The trees look enormous because the top of them is blurred with lines; they have the possibility to grow infinitely. Some photos show a low vantage point, so the status of the trees is raised. I feel that I am as tiny as a worm in front of the trees, but I, at the same time, feel safe because the power from the trees seems to cover and support me. The images remind me of images of Kuan Yin (a goddess of mercy and compassion). The goddess has infinite power to save lives of the poor; she has a glowing body. Similarly, the lines on the images are like phantoms or spirits coming out of the trees. The trees become sacred. Overall, the exhibition is active and innovative, depicting the sacred trees and visualizing their power. Those releasing lines are like phantoms of the trees; the trees are given elegant and respectful characteristics by the artist. The digital techniques chosen by the artist are used to reveal movement on the fixed photos. I enjoyed the show for it provided the audience with such a great mental interaction with nature.
Cossey Sees Ships Up Close By Elissa Barnard, Arts Reporter, The Sunday Herald, March 3, 2011
KEITH MICHAEL COSSEY twins his passions for sailing and photography in his first solo show at ViewPoint Gallery. A Short View of Tall Ships, on exhibit to April 3, is a close-up look at the rigging, pulleys, ropes and sails of tall ships.
"There are so many images of tall ships, the length of them and in full sail, and I wanted to look at the specifics in more details," says Cossey. He exhibits just one picture of the crowds on the waterfront during a Tall Ships festival and then leaves the noise and chaos behind for quiet, alluring images of neglected beauty.
He opens up a new world to the viewer in the majesty of perfectly coiled rope, the blurred fling of a jib's sheet whipping through the air during a tack and in men's hands, the golden hairs visible on tanned skin, working at ropes and winches in the Caribbean. In the repetition of heavy ropes and blocks, in what Cossey calls "the weave of ropes and spars," and in the iron or wooden hoops holding a sail to a thick wooden mast, he loves "the colours, the textures and the lines more from an abstract composition."
"I appreciate the workmanship, craftsmanship, that went into the tall ships, and this exhibit is contrasting the new and old."
Cossey shot the familiar golden eagle from the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Eagle at a tilt to get a different view. "It's the view you get if you go in a small boat and go under the bowsprit. It looks like it's taking off."
Cossey first sailed in Shediac Bay in 1980, when he lived in Moncton. When he moved to Halifax, he crewed on a 40-foot sailboat. He later owned a 16-foot boat and sailed with his kids "in and out of the bays and inlets of the Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia and in the Bras d'Or Lakes." "I've been attracted to the sea for a long time. My uncle was a navigator aboard a merchant ship in and after the war. He had great stories about that."
The images in A Short View of Tall Ships come from wandering around with his camera on the Halifax waterfront when the ships are visiting and from a trip he and his wife took in the British Virgin Islands aboard a three-masted schooner, the Arabella. The picture Arabella Skipper and Mate features an intense look between the male skipper and female mate as the schooner is at full sail in brilliant sunshine. "He had just been whipped by one of the ropes," Cossey said.
Light is a big part of Cossey's images, the sunlight coming through the Arabella's crisp white sails, and the way light glows on a pile of honey-coloured wooden pulleys at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. "Photography is my passion. I see it as a creative and artistic outlet."
He graduated last year from the New York Institute of Photography and received an award of merit for a photograph taken at night at the Armdale roundabout. Cossey has found many exceptional images just walking through the Public Gardens and Point Pleasant Park. "I love doing that type of photography." He doesn't plan out an image. "Most of the time it's serendipitous. There's a form of contemplative photography called Miksang, a Buddhist approach, and they have a term called flash perception. You're taking what grabs your attention, your first thought.