Mark Cohen (photographer)

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Mark Cohen
Born 1943
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Photographer
Home town Wilkes-Barre and Scranton, Pennsylvania

Mark Cohen (born 1943) is an American photographer best known for his innovative close-up street photography.

Life and career[edit]

Cohen was born and lived in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania until 2013. He attended Penn State University and Wilkes College between 1961 and 1965, and opened a commercial photo studio in 1966.[1] Cohen’s photography was first exhibited in the 1969 exhibition Vision and Expression organised by Nathan Lyons at George Eastman House.[2][3]

The majority of the photography for which Cohen is known is shot in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area (also known as the Wyoming Valley), a historic industrialized region of northeastern Pennsylvania. Characteristically Cohen photographs people close-up, using a wide-angle lens and a flashgun, mostly in black and white, frequently cropping their heads from the frame, concentrating on small details.[4] He has used 21 mm, 28 mm and 35 mm focal length, wide-angle, lenses and later on 50 mm.[5]

Cohen has published three monographs, Grim Street (2005); True Color (2007), work in colour originating as a commission from George Eastman House; and Italian Riviera (2008), made along the Levante Riviera, during his stay in Rapallo, Liguria.

He has twice been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, in 1971[6] and 1976,[citation needed] and received a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1975.[7]

Cohen has described his method as 'intrusive'.[8] "They're not easy pictures. But I guess that's why they're mine."[9]

Discussing his influences with Thomas Southall in 2004[8] he cites ". . . so many photographers who followed Cartier-Bresson, like Frank, Koudelka, Winogrand, Friedlander." He also recognises the influence of Diane Arbus.[9] Whilst acknowledging these influences he says: "I knew about art photography...Then I did these outside the context of any other photographer."[9]

In 2013 Cohen moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[5]

Publications[edit]

Books by Cohen[edit]

  • Mark Cohen, Photographer: A Monograph. 1980. 38 pp. OCLC 14157788.[10]
  • Mark Cohen: October 10 – December 13, 1981. Washington, DC: Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1981. 24 pp. OCLC 8793002.
  • Images: A Photographic Essay of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Avoca, PA: Economic Development Council of Northeastern Pennsylvania, 1982. 58 pp. OCLC 40750751.
  • Five Minutes in Mexico: Photographs. [Wilkes-Barre, PA]: The [Sordoni Art] Gallery, 1989. 71 pp. ISBN 0-942945-00-X.
  • Grim Street. New York: powerHouse, 2005. ISBN 1-57687-230-0.
  • True Color. New York: powerHouse, 2007. ISBN 1-57687-372-2. Text by Vince Aletti.
  • Italian Riviera. Rome: Punctum Press, 2008. ISBN 978-8-895410-16-6. Edition of 40 copies.
  • Mark Cohen: Strange Evidence. Self-published / CreateSpace, 2012. ISBN 978-1456563738. Catalogue of the exhibition Mark Cohen: Strange Evidence at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, January 2010 to March 2011, curated by Peter Barbiere.
  • Dark Knees. Paris: Editions Xavier Barral, 2013. ISBN 978-2-365110-42-6. "Wilkes-Barre and around Pennsylvania 1969–2012". "Published on the occasion of the exhibition Mark Cohen Dark Knees at [Le Bal] in Paris between September 27 and December 8, 2013 and at the Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam between November 8, 2014 and January 11 2015."

Contributions to publications[edit]

  • Contatti. Provini d'Autore = Choosing the best photo by using the contact sheet. Vol. I. Edited by Giammaria De Gasperis. Rome: Postcart, 2012. ISBN 978-88-86795-87-6.

Books about Cohen[edit]

  • Wonders Seen in Forsaken Places: An essay on the photographs and the process of photography of Mark Cohen by Alphonso Lingis. Self-published / CreateSpace, 2010. ISBN 978-1442180536.

Solo exhibitions[edit]

Permanent collections[edit]

Cohen's work is held in the following permanent collections:

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mark Cohen". Brucesilverstein.com. Retrieved 2010-06-26. 
  2. ^ Nathan Lyons, Vision and Expression (New York: Horizon Press, 1969).
  3. ^ George Eastman House bio.
  4. ^ "Photography: Mark Cohen", Profiles in Excellence. Penn State Public Broadcasting, 1982. Here [1] at Penn State on Demand. (Starts at 1′43″.)
  5. ^ a b c Estrin, James (8 May 2014). "Pictures on the Street? It’s Complicated". New York Times. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Mark Cohen, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  7. ^ NEA 1975 Annual report (PDF), page 97.
  8. ^ a b 2004 interview with Thomas Southall, in Grim Street.
  9. ^ a b c 2004 interview with Anne Wilkes Tucker, in the preface to Grim Street.
  10. ^ According to WorldCat, "Also published as Camera, 1980, no. 3."
  11. ^ "Exhibition History List". MoMA. Retrieved 2010-06-26. 
  12. ^ "1975 News Releases", Art Institute of Chicago.
  13. ^ "Mark Cohen: Strange Evidence". Philadelphia Museum of Art. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  14. ^ "MARK COHEN: Italian Riviera, 2008", Marywood University.
  15. ^ Moroz, Sarah (22 October 2013). "Mark Cohen: the photographer who literally shoots from the hip". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  16. ^ Four unspecified items, according to the alphabetical listing of artists. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  17. ^ Two items, according to the alphabetical listing of artists, including Girl with Skipping Rope, the cover image of Grim Street. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  18. ^ 129 items, detailed in the checklist of artists. Retrieved 2010-05-30.

External links[edit]