Mark Cohen (photographer)

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Mark Cohen
Born 1943 (age 73–74)
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania U.S.
Residence Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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.[1]

Cohen's major books of photography are Grim Street (2005), True Color (2007), and Mexico (2016). His work was first exhibited in a group exhibition at George Eastman House in 1969 and he had his first solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 1973.[2] He was awarded Guggenheim Fellowships in 1971[3] and 1976,[citation needed] and received a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1975.[4]

Life and work[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.[5]

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.[6] He has used 21 mm, 28 mm and 35 mm focal length, wide-angle, lenses and later on 50 mm.[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.[7]


Books by Cohen[edit]

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]

Notable group exhibitions[edit]


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


  1. ^ a b c Estrin, James (7 December 2012). "Bright Flash, Small City". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 February 2017. 
  2. ^ "Jumprope". Victoria and Albert Museum. Retrieved 2 February 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Mark Cohen, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  4. ^ a b NEA 1975 Annual report (PDF), page 97.
  5. ^ "Mark Cohen" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-06-26. 
  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 c Estrin, James (8 May 2014). "Pictures on the Street? It's Complicated". New York Times. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  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. ^ Nathan Lyons, Vision and Expression (New York: Horizon Press, 1969).
  17. ^ George Eastman House bio.
  18. ^ 129 items, detailed in the checklist of artists. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  19. ^ Two items, according to the alphabetical listing of artists, including Girl with Skipping Rope, the cover image of Grim Street. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  20. ^ "Jumprope". Victoria and Albert Museum. 
  21. ^ Four unspecified items, according to the alphabetical listing of artists. Retrieved 2010-05-30.

External links[edit]