John Coplans is a photographer known for his series of black and white self-portraits which are a stark study of the naked, aging body. In this series, Coplans photographed his body from the bottom of his feet to the wrinkles on his hand. Coplans chose to place anonymity on the subject of this series by never photographing his face.
During his one year appointment as head of the Akron Art Museum in 1980, Coplans started experimenting with photography. Through this experimentation, Coplans took his original nude photographs with a timer, but would not return to the idea until 1984, when he began a deeper exploration into the self portraits. The poses in Coplans self portraits were inspired by an intuitive connection and awareness of the body.
From 1965 to 1967 Coplans was director of the Art Gallery of the University of California at Irvine. As senior curator at the Pasadena Art Museum (1967 – 1970), Coplans was among the earliest champions of Pop Art.