Cotton Coulson

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Cotton Coulson (1952 – May 27, 2015 in Tromsø, Norway) was a photographer known for his work for National Geographic magazine.

Tromsø Municipality in Troms, Norway

Tromsø, is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Tromsø.

Norway Country in Northern Europe

Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northern Europe whose territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula; the remote island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard are also part of the Kingdom of Norway. The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land.

Photographer person who takes photographs

A photographer is a person who makes photographs.


Professional life

Coulson graduated from New York University Film School in 1975, and was hired by National Geographic in 1976, [1] after having begun contributing to them as a freelancer in 1975. [2]

He also worked at the Baltimore Sun , where he was a director of photography, [3] and at U.S. News & World Report , where he was an associate director of photography. [1]

U.S. News & World Report is an American media company that publishes news, opinion, consumer advice, rankings, and analysis. Founded as a newsweekly magazine in 1933, U.S. News transitioned to primarily web-based publishing in 2010. U.S. News is best known today for its influential Best Colleges and Best Hospitals rankings, but it has expanded its content and product offerings in education, health, money, careers, travel, and cars. The rankings are popular in North America but have drawn widespread criticism from colleges, administrations, and students for their dubious, disparate, and arbitrary nature.

In 1996, he collaborated with Rick Smolan on Smolan's "24 Hours in Cyberspace" project; [4] he subsequently joined CNET, where he was senior vice-president of creative services until 1999, at which point he was promoted to vice president and executive producer. [5]

Rick Smolan American photographer

Rick Smolan is a former TIME, LIFE, and National Geographic photographer best known as the co-creator of the Day in the Life book series. He is currently CEO of Against All Odds Productions, a cross-media organization.

CNET American media website about technology and consumer electronics

CNET, formerly Computer Network, is an American media website that publishes reviews, news, articles, blogs, podcasts and videos on technology and consumer electronics globally. Founded in 1994 by Halsey Minor and Shelby Bonnie, it was the flagship brand of CNET Networks and became a brand of CBS Interactive through CNET Networks' acquisition in 2008. CNET originally produced content for radio and television in addition to its website and now uses new media distribution methods through its Internet television network, CNET Video, and its podcast and blog networks.


On May 24, 2015, Coulson was scuba diving in the waters of the Svalbard Archipelago as part of a photography assignment, when he signaled to his diving partner that he needed to surface immediately. [4] By the time they emerged from the water, he was unresponsive; CPR was performed, [2] but he died in hospital three days later, without having ever regained consciousness. [4]

Scuba diving Using bottled air to swim underwater

Scuba diving is a mode of underwater diving where the diver uses a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba), which is completely independent of surface supply, to breathe underwater. Scuba divers carry their own source of breathing gas, usually compressed air, allowing them greater independence and freedom of movement than surface-supplied divers, and longer underwater endurance than breath-hold divers. Although the use of compressed air is common, a new mixture called enriched air (Nitrox) has been gaining popularity due to its benefit of reduced nitrogen intake during repetitive dives. Open circuit scuba systems discharge the breathing gas into the environment as it is exhaled, and consist of one or more diving cylinders containing breathing gas at high pressure which is supplied to the diver through a regulator. They may include additional cylinders for range extension, decompression gas or emergency breathing gas. Closed-circuit or semi-closed circuit rebreather scuba systems allow recycling of exhaled gases. The volume of gas used is reduced compared to that of open circuit, so a smaller cylinder or cylinders may be used for an equivalent dive duration. Rebreathers extend the time spent underwater compared to open circuit for the same gas consumption; they produce fewer bubbles and less noise than open circuit scuba which makes them attractive to covert military divers to avoid detection, scientific divers to avoid disturbing marine animals, and media divers to avoid bubble interference.

Svalbard Archipelago in the Arctic Ocean

Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Situated north of mainland Europe, it is about midway between continental Norway and the North Pole. The islands of the group range from 74° to 81° north latitude, and from 10° to 35° east longitude. The largest island is Spitsbergen, followed by Nordaustlandet and Edgeøya. Administratively, the archipelago is not part of any Norwegian county, but forms an unincorporated area administered by a governor appointed by the Norwegian government. Since 2002, Svalbard's main settlement, Longyearbyen, has had an elected local government, somewhat similar to mainland municipalities. Other settlements include the Russian mining community of Barentsburg, the research station of Ny-Ålesund, and the mining outpost of Sveagruva. Ny-Ålesund is the northernmost settlement in the world with a permanent civilian population. Other settlements are farther north, but are populated only by rotating groups of researchers.

Personal life

Coulson was married to fellow photographer Sisse Brimberg, who was also his professional partner; [6] they met at a photography seminar in 1976. [4]

Marie Louise "Sisse" Brimberg is a Danish photographer who has completed some 30 photographic stories for National Geographic.

He was named for Cotton Mather. [4]

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  1. 1 2 Cotton Coulson, National Geographic Photographer, Dies, by Laura Parker; at National Geographic ; published May 28, 2015; retrieved June 21, 2015
  2. 1 2 Photographer Cotton Coulson Dies in Diving Accident on National Geographic Expedition, by David Walker, at Photo District News; published May 28, 2015; retrieved June 21, 2015
  3. Cotton Coulson, by Jacques Kelly, in the Baltimore Sun ; published May 29, 2015; retrieved June 21, 2015
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Photographer Cotton Coulson Dies In Norway After Diving Accident, by Donald R. Winslow; at the National Press Photographers Association; published May 28, 2015; retrieved June 21, 2015
  5. CNET Online Announces Promotions within Senior Management, at CNET; published March 1, 1999; retrieved June 21, 2015
  6. Cotton Coulson Dies, at Sony's Global Imaging Ambassadors; published June 5, 2015; retrieved June 21, 2015