Coupon, William

About The Artist

William Coupon (born December 3, 1952, in New York City) is an American photographer, known principally for his formal painterly backdrop portraits of tribal people, politicians, and celebrities. William Coupon was born in New York City, but moved to Washington, D.C. and later to San Francisco. He attended Syracuse University and ultimately moved to New York City to begin his photographic career. He began in 1979 to photograph backdrop portraits of New York’s youth culture, to document its “New Wave/Punk” scene at the then-popular Mudd Club in lower Manhattan. Commercial work soon followed for a variety of international magazines, record companies, and advertising agencies. He continued to photograph portraits, often of various sub-cultures and indigenous peoples in the 1980s and early 1990s including Haitians, Florida State Prison inmates, Australian Aboriginals, Drag Queens, Alaska Natives, Scandinavian Laplanders, Turkish Kurds, Israeli Druzim, the traditional Dutch, Moroccan Berbers, New Guinea tribesmen, Brazilian Caraja, Malaysian Penan, Native Americans, and the Mexican Lacandon, Huichol, Mennonite and Tarahumara. These were titled his “Social Studies” series. He was invited to photograph the world’s tribal leaders during the Earth Summit in May 1992, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His most current work embraces the digital medium, in places like Cuba, Venezuela and in his native America, which is more candid, but still formalistic in approach.

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