Stewart Cohen’s Serendipitous Island Encounter

In the expansive world of photography, Stewart Cohen stands out as a maestro whose lens finds beauty in the most unexpected places. The tale of his recent award-winning image, “Chloe and the Danes,” was captured during a trek for client Lindblad Expeditions while in the North Atlantic in pursuit of Puffin colonies. What transpired was a stroke of serendipity, an abandoned landing pad on a remote island that sparked his creative vision. In this blog post, he shares the behind-the-scenes of his photograph, where he blends natural beauty with his fine art artistry and craftsmanship. 

By: Stewart Cohen

The strange thing about how this image came to be is that it was all in search of puffin colonies in the North Atlantic. We had been circumnavigating the British Isles, which was totally fascinating with all the natural animal habitats and historical sites dating back to the 7th century. The weather that day was divine, and we had spent the day using zodiacs to do landings on a series of small islands. When we landed here, we hiked up a really steep set of old stairs built into the side of the cliff, and the place was full of puffins. Truly a photographer’s dream; I mean, they were everywhere, dive-bombing you and just being really cute.

That was all good, but what caught my eye was this landing pad that seemed to have been forgotten. It was straight out of a James Bond Film. Why had anyone flown to this island unless they had a secret liar underneath it or something? Check out that island behind Chloe; it is Bond-like, right? I knew immediately that I wanted to do something epic with it. We were basing our expedition on the ship out in the distance. We made a few calls to round up the needed elements and spent a few hours shooting there. Unfortunately, the Great Danes were unavailable and had to be added later in post-production.

What I love most about what we do is getting out there and finding unique spots and places that you could never come up in your mind. This is why creatives will live on even with the advent of generative AI.

Born in Montreal, Stewart Cohen graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and apprenticed with the internationally known photographer Helmut Newton. Stewart then established his studio in Dallas, Texas. He is known and recognized in the world of commercial production and still photography, both in commercial and fine art, for his unique vision and his extraordinary ability to work with people. To date, Cohen has published five books, the most recent being Seeing Red. Exhibitions of his fine art have included “Dark Elves,” “Beauty Queens,” and “Ice.” Winner of over 50 top industry awards and numerous other honors, Stewart Cohen’s work has appeared in prominent advertising and photography publications and has been exhibited in museums, galleries, and corporate offices across the country. He has been selected by Adweek/Southwest as “Photographer of the Year” and has earned international recognition for his work from Communication Arts Magazine, Photographer’s Forum, Archive Magazine, and other prestigious publications. His film work has received over three dozen Telly Awards.

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Author: Graphis