Mark Cohen (photographer)
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania U.S.
|Home town||Wilkes-Barre and Scranton, Pennsylvania|
Life and career
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. Cohen’s photography was first exhibited in the 1969 exhibition Vision and Expression organised by Nathan Lyons at George Eastman House.
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. He has used 21 mm, 28 mm and 35 mm focal length, wide-angle, lenses and later on 50 mm.
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.
Discussing his influences with Thomas Southall in 2004 he cites ". . . so many photographers who followed Cartier-Bresson, like Frank, Koudelka, Winogrand, Friedlander." He also recognises the influence of Diane Arbus. Whilst acknowledging these influences he says: "I knew about art photography...Then I did these outside the context of any other photographer."
Books by Cohen
- Mark Cohen, Photographer: A Monograph. 1980. 38 pp. OCLC 14157788.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
|This section requires expansion. (May 2014)|
- 1973: Photographs by Mark Cohen, Museum of Modern Art. MoMA exhibition #1027.
- 1975: Art Institute of Chicago.
- 2010/2011: Mark Cohen: Strange Evidence, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
- 2013: Mark Cohen: Italian Riviera, 2008, Maslow Collection at Marywood University, Scranton, PA.
- 2013: Dark Knees (1969 - 2012), Le Bal, Paris.
- 2014: Mark Cohen, Danziger Gallery, New York, NY.
Cohen's work is held in the following permanent collections:
- Whitney Museum of American Art
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
- George Eastman House
- Museum of Modern Art
- Art Institute of Chicago
- Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
- Musee de la Photographie, Belgium
- Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
- National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
- Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts
- The Polaroid Collection, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
- "Mark Cohen". Brucesilverstein.com. Retrieved 2010-06-26.
- Nathan Lyons, Vision and Expression (New York: Horizon Press, 1969).
- George Eastman House bio.
- "Photography: Mark Cohen", Profiles in Excellence. Penn State Public Broadcasting, 1982. Here  at Penn State on Demand. (Starts at 1′43″.)
- Estrin, James (8 May 2014). "Pictures on the Street? It’s Complicated". New York Times. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
- Mark Cohen, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
- NEA 1975 Annual report (PDF), page 97.
- 2004 interview with Thomas Southall, in Grim Street.
- 2004 interview with Anne Wilkes Tucker, in the preface to Grim Street.
- According to WorldCat, "Also published as Camera, 1980, no. 3."
- "Exhibition History List". MoMA. Retrieved 2010-06-26.
- "1975 News Releases", Art Institute of Chicago.
- "Mark Cohen: Strange Evidence". Philadelphia Museum of Art. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
- "MARK COHEN: Italian Riviera, 2008", Marywood University.
- Moroz, Sarah (22 October 2013). "Mark Cohen: the photographer who literally shoots from the hip". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
- Four unspecified items, according to the alphabetical listing of artists. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
- Two items, according to the alphabetical listing of artists, including Girl with Skipping Rope, the cover image of Grim Street. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
- 129 items, detailed in the checklist of artists. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
- Comprehensive list of Cohen's exhibitions (PDF)
- Cohen explains and demonstrates how he works, Contemporary Photographie in the USA (Spring 1982), Michael Engler Filmproduktion (6 m video)