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 street photography.

Life and career[edit]

Cohen was born and lives in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. 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] He has twice been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship[4] and received a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1975.[5] A monograph of black and white photographs, Grim Street, was published in 2005 by powerHouse Books. A second book, True Color, followed in 2007.

The majority of the work for which Cohen is known is shot in the neighbourhoods of Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. Characteristically he shoots his subjects close in, often using a wide-angle lens and flash, frequently cropping the subjects' heads from the frame, concentrating on small details and moments.[6]

Cohen has described his method as 'intrusive'.[7] "They're not easy pictures. But I guess that's why they're mine."[8]

Discussing his influences with Thomas Southall in 2004[7] he cites ". . . so many photographers who followed Cartier-Bresson, like Frank, Koudelka, Winogrand, Friedlander." He also recognises the influence of Diane Arbus.[8] Whilst acknowledging these influences he says: "I knew about art photography...Then I did these outside the context of any other photographer."[8]

Books by Cohen[edit]

  • Mark Cohen, Photographer: A Monograph. 1980. 38 pp. OCLC 14157788[9]
  • 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
  • Italian Riviera. Rome: Punctum Press, 2008. Edition of 40. ISBN 978-8-895410-16-6
  • Dark Knees. Paris: Editions Xavier Barral, 2013. ISBN 978-2-365110-42-6

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.

Selected exhibitions[edit]

Permanent collections[edit]


  1. ^ "Mark Cohen". Retrieved 2010-06-26. 
  2. ^ Nathan Lyons, Vision and Expression (New York: Horizon Press, 1969).
  3. ^ George Eastman House bio.
  4. ^ "Mark Cohen", John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  5. ^ NEA 1975 Annual report (PDF), page 97.
  6. ^ "Photography: Mark Cohen", Profiles in Excellence. Penn State Public Broadcasting, 1982. Here [1] at Penn State on Demand. (Starts at 1′43″.)
  7. ^ a b 2004 interview with Thomas Southall, in Grim Street.
  8. ^ a b c 2004 interview with Anne Wilkes Tucker, in the preface to Grim Street.
  9. ^ According to WorldCat, "Also published as Camera, 1980, no. 3."
  10. ^ "Exhibition History List". MoMA. Retrieved 2010-06-26. 
  11. ^ "Mark Cohen: Strange Evidence". Philadelphia Museum of Art. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  12. ^ Four unspecified items, according to the alphabetical listing of artists. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  13. ^ Two items, according to the alphabetical listing of artists, including Girl with Skipping Rope, the cover image of Grim Street. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  14. ^ 129 items, detailed in the checklist of artists. Retrieved 2010-05-30.

External links[edit]