auxiliary profiles : Luke Copping

photo : Jennifer Link
hair : Erin Moser
makeup : Leane Steck
interview : Zach Rose

As an original member of Auxiliary Magazine, Luke Copping’s background in photography, marketing, and popular culture helps Auxiliary achieve the success that it enjoys. Luke’s unique approach to beauty, style, and character photography lends an aesthetic of quirk and dynamism that is entirely his own. An internationally recognized photographer, Luke’s style continues to evolve and his contributions to Auxiliary continue to lend content that is both exciting in nature and provocative in its styling.

What do you do at Auxiliary Magazine?

What don’t I do? As the Associate Editor I work on all aspects of the magazine. On top of writing and photographing several articles each issue, I work on design, marketing, editing, and advertising issues, I also work in article and shoot production, and I work closely with the rest of the editorial staff on the direction of each issue. I also manage a lot of the blog content. I’m sort of the jack of all trades, I go where the work needs to be done and tend to fill a lot of different spots on the magazine’s roster, as well as providing content as needed to fill holes in our issue layouts.

As an individual utilizing several different roles with Auxiliary, which do you find to be the most rewarding and why?

Its all good, and all an outlet for what I do. Whether I’m creating imagery or writing for the magazine, or launching a new marketing idea or plan. I think too many artists have a poor concept of business. I like to pride myself on having the skills to do both. You can’t run a successful venture like this without being both creative and business savvy. That’s why I enjoy working with the team here so much, they take it as seriously as I do, and truly want this venture to succeed.

How does Auxiliary Magazine influence local fashion markets? Non-local?

I’m not concerned with us influencing markets as a whole. I think that Auxiliary, at least in terms of my perception, is much more about pushing people to create their own styles, rather than being mere slaves to the fashions we show. I dread us ever becoming a magazine like Gothic Beauty, one which I feel simply regurgitates the latest pseudo alternative trends and uniforms that you see influence the club scene. I think our readers are more intelligent than that, have a wider range of interests and don’t need to be told what to wear, merely shown what is out there so they can make up their own minds. I try to introduce elements of fashion and style from a variety of backgrounds that other magazines either tend to deride or ignore simply because these aesthetics and ideas do not fit into what I feel are the small and narrowly defined categories that it seems these magazines adhere to. High fashion runway shows, vintage and thrift, DIY, street fashion, and elements of the South American, Eastern European, and Asian fashion scenes are all present throughout our editorials and blog entries. I think the most important element in developing an alternative fashion magazine is to absolutely NOT play to the stereotypes. These are bad trends and poorly thought out fashion ideas that propagate within the mob mentality of several alternative countercultures. I have no time for elitist tribes that espouse individuality while only allowing social creativity within a limited scope. We owe our readers more than that.

Where has your photography gone in the past year and how do you see it changing over the next (year)?

I would rather let the viewers decide what they think of my work. Which can be seen at www.lukecopping.com. As for where I’m going, I’m working towards a more commercial form of portraiture that is informed by elements taken from my experience as a beauty and style photographer. I’ll be launching a new site shortly that will really give viewers a better idea on the direction I’m moving towards.

What advice do you have for young/aspiring photographers just starting out?

Shoot, shoot, shoot!!! Keep shooting and producing work all the time. Learn from your mistakes and don’t be afraid to epic fail. Epic failures are epic learning opportunities. Learn to admit when you think your own work sucks to yourself. It’s what will push you to do better. If you love every image you ever produce you will have no impetus to improve. A lot of it is best summed up in my favorite quote, from comedian Steve Martin, on how to succeed in any field;
“Be undeniably good. When people ask me how do you make it in show business or whatever, what I always tell them and nobody ever takes note of it ‘cuz it’s not the answer they wanted to hear — what they want to hear is here’s how you get an agent, here’s how you write a script, here’s how you do this — but I always say, ‘Be so good they can’t ignore you.’ If somebody’s thinking, ‘How can I be really good?’, people are going to come to you. It’s much easier doing it that way than going to cocktail parties.”

Where would you like to see Auxiliary Magazine going as an entity within the next year?

Growth and distribution are important to me. We have an extremely loyal and strong regional base in the north east and Canada. It’s super important to me to expand our readership in the south and on the west coast. We’re working with new and exciting creative teams all the time. As our profile grows so does our access to more interesting subjects that our readers are dying to hear from.

You bring content to Auxiliary that helps break genres and crosses scenes, what artistic influences impact your work as both an artist and writer?

I hate questions like this, as they seem to imply that the notion of influence is a conscious effect. If you consciously let something influence you, it’s homage at best, plagiarism at worst. I suppose there are things I like that have made an impact on my work from a visual and philosophical standpoint though. In terms of the photographers I like best, I find that very little of their work is reflected in my own, and I’m appreciative of that. Matt Mahurin and Rodney Smith are two of my favorites. I do suppose that within the area of photography I work most in (beauty) I am strongly influenced by photographers like Sean Armenta and Sarah Silver though, and I can admit it does show. I love their sense of beauty and the simple and clean aesthetic they bring to their work. I think it’s important that every photographer bring something of themselves to their work though, no matter what the subject is, or how similar it may be to another’s subject matter. If you can make it truly yours, it will connect. Outside of the realm of photography I love the cinema, especially Japanese cinema from the 70s and 80s and old Hollywood films from the 20s though 50s. They provide such a rich visual catalog of the evolution of American and European style through the last century.

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7 comments on “auxiliary profiles : Luke Copping”

  1. Hi there,

    Just found out about your mag recently. Kind of funny how you bash GB but you really are saying spot on about them. Unfortunately a lot of the “designers” they feature either do, as you say, the same old thing I’ve been seeing for the past 10 years or so out there that it doesn’t even make sense aesthetically or in terms of quality of design (maybe I’m being a design snob but a baby pink doile dress, come on now!). My idea of a “goth-ish” look is way different from so much of what I see and unfortunately, like the mainstream fashion world, one person comes up with an idea – good or bad (original or not – ahem – sleepy hollow costumes) and everyone jumps on the bandwagon. Now Steampunk seems to be the new trend and everyone is starting to do the same thing.

    I’m hoping you guys succeed and are able to grow your readership more. And I really like how you guys don’t focus on one mainstream subculture or genre, by the way.

  2. Sarah

    I agree, I guess my philosophy with several of the editorials I work on for the magazine, and a lot of the written pieces I work on as well, is that Auxiliary is not there to tell people what to wear. But to help them decide for themselves. I don’t want to pander to the stereotypes of fashion, which results in nothing more than costuming, not the development of style.

  3. Thanks for the compliment Sarah about our magazine. I think you understand our ideals and I’m happy that it is expressed to our readers.

    And as for Luke’s last comment, that’s been a sorta underlying motto of mine, “alternative fashions are not costumes”, bravo Luke!

    Meagan

  4. Yes I think we have both shared that outlook
    For quite some time. I can barely stand the sight of 10 people wearing an awful costume and traipsing down the street. Like seeing a half dozen late teens looking like postcard punks. Hitting every note. Plaid bondage pants. Ripped exploited shirt. No sense of where these fashions come from. There is no style at all involved. Just a mindless slavishness to trends out of their era with no change or evolution
    Of the aesthetic. Same feeling I get when I see people at clubs wearing awful goggles with biohazard symbols on them. I could go on a days long rant indicting labels, brands, and individuals that I see as hateful reminders
    Of why so many people fall
    Into the stereotype as fashion trap. I feel the same Way about bad, cliche photography or awful pseudo-goth, angst ridden “artistik photoshops”

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