Chad Cochran

midwest living
“I grew up in a town of 1,800 people in Knox County, Ohio.  I didn’t know how much I loved it, until I moved.  I travel to that area frequently, to document the decay of barns, cars and homes.”  This pretty much sums up Chad Cochran’s photographic style.
I learned about Chad through The Art and Artists of 614 on Facebook and fell in love with his interpretation of rural Ohio and the shores of the Bay Village area.  Unfortunately, we have not met in person yet but I hope that will happen in the near future.  Therefore, this interview was completed through e-mails, not what I usually do but I wanted to learn more about this relatively ‘new’ artist!
Although he did take pictures when he was younger, he didn’t seriously explore photography until 2010.  After his wife bought him a DSLR camera, he began shooting for real and his fascination continued to grow .  Now he uses that camera and sometimes his iPhone to capture his subjects.   He also manipulates and edits almost all of his photos on his iPad.

dead and gone

dead and gone

As is common with many artists, Chad’s background has nothing to do with photography.  He attended Bowling Green University with a major in communication and a minor in English. Originally, he  had intended on being an English teacher, but once he did his secondary education observations, he realized teaching wasn’t going to be for him.  Instead, he moved to Columbus initially to take a job with Ohio Health, but moved on to a  fitness, national account job, three years later.  Recently, however, he left our capital city, moving  to Bay Village to be closer to family.
Growing up,  Chad says he  was in trouble for always talking, so he decided to turn that into a career in sales.  His full time job is about as far removed from photography as it could get.  He’s  a national sales manager for a fitness company  based out of Chicago.  In that capacity, he helps design fitness rooms  for developers, then sells them the needed equipment .  Photography has been an outlet to relax and get away from the busy lifestyle and airports that come with lots of job-related travel.  “Photography provides me the ability to get in my car, put on music that I like, drive on some back roads and relax.”
don't look so sad

don’t look so sad

Chad is self taught with no art or photography schooling but does have a few friends who are photographers who have shown him a few techniques, but for the most part, he has learned in a “trial by fire” way.  He started messing around with different apps on his iPad and found that he was interested in all of the different ways a photo can be changed.  That is what really got him impassioned about photography.
Because Chad believes that all art needs to invoke emotions, he strives to use editing to correspond with his mood.  Some edits are ‘dark and creepy’  while others are ‘warm and inviting’, depending on his mood.  Photography provides him with cherished alone time and allows him to explore not only rural decay but now the sunsets and tides along Bay Village.
Music is his main form of inspiration.  He always listens to music when he’s out shooting and when editing.  Nearly all of his photography titles come from a lyric or the title of a song.  He chooses songs that he feels connect to the photo or his mood.
His involvement with the Art and Artists of 614 has been important to him.  He knew  Amy Leibrand through Cap City Creatives (he is a member of this local group) and met Walter Herrmann at a meeting.  A few weeks later,  Walter and Ric Stewart attended his opening at Barcelona Restaurant in German Village where they hit it off and started talking a little about networking.  A short time after that, Amy invited him to become a member of the Art and Artists of 614 page on Facebook.

leave me behind

leave me behind

” I was incredibly excited to see how harmonious and supportive all of the artists in town were.  I later met Lisa McLymont over lunch and Walter asked us to become administrators for the group.  It has been one of the best experiences in my young artistic career.  The entire group is such an inspiration. We have since opened a 740 chapter and just this week, 216, which will include all of Northeast Ohio. The Arts and Artists want to gradually expand and with me now being in Northeast Ohio, it seemed liked a perfect step. It is something I am passionate about and love being able to help, if even in a small way, helping artists connect with gallery owners, curators or even other artists.”
Chad laughingly states that his  biggest challenge is sometimes keeping his mouth shut and being appropriate when needed…  “There are sometimes I hear something in my head and it sounds funny, then it blurts out of my mouth and I have that uncomfortable silence, until I am able to see if anyone else thinks it is funny.  I am pretty sure all of my good friends not only are used to it, they expect it at this point.”chad
When asked what advice he would give to other artists, he advised to not  do what you always do;  experiment; get uncomfortable.   He has practiced what he preaches by doing a few portrait sessions, just to get out of the habit of doing what he always does. He finds this to be challenging and something he should do more often.
His involvement in the art community has grown exponentially since 2010 in Columbus, Cleveland and other states.  He has been a member of Cap City Creatives for about 9 months.  His work has been shown at the Ohio Historical Society, The Rhodes Tower, done a solo show at a wine bar in Mt. Vernon, Barcelona in Grandview and at Max the Salon in the Short North and participated in Exposure at CS Gallery in Old Town East. He just finished a show in Ft. Wayne, Indiana and has a show that started recently in Cleveland.  July 29th- September 13, he is participating in his first juried show at Lakeland Community College as part of a collaborative project with CWAL and OAL (Cleveland West Art League and Ohio Art League). Almost all of his photos are available to order through his e-mail (  In the Cleveland area, he also sells matted prints at two locations:  Salty Not Sweet by the West Side Market and  The Bay Arts Center in Bay Village. His latest coup, however, is his feature in  the Sept./Oct. Midwest Living Magazine where they will showcase his photo ‘Around the Bend’.
It’s been interesting learning more about Chad through this interview and the 614 group…I am looking forward to meeting him in person some time soon and will be looking for that picture on the magazine rack!
around the bend

around the bend

Contact info:
Chad Cochran Photography
Instagram: cowtownchad
Twitter: @cochran_photo

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