Mark Cohen (photographer)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Mark Cohen
Born1943 (age 77–78)

Mark Cohen (born August 24,1943) is an American photographer best known for his innovative close-up street photography.[1][2]

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.[3] He was awarded Guggenheim Fellowships in 1971 and 1976.[4] and received a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1975.[5]

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.[6]

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.[7] He has used 21 mm, 28 mm and 35 mm focal length, wide-angle, lenses and later on 50 mm.[8] Cohen has described his method as 'intrusive';[9] "They're not easy pictures. But I guess that's why they're mine."[10]

Discussing his influences with Thomas Southall in 2004[9] he cites ". . . so many photographers who followed Cartier-Bresson, like Frank, Koudelka, Winogrand, Friedlander." He also recognises the influence of Diane Arbus.[10] Whilst acknowledging these influences he says: "I knew about art photography...Then I did these outside the context of any other photographer."[10]

In 2013 Cohen moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[8]


Books by Cohen[edit]

  • Mark Cohen, Photographer: A Monograph. 1980. 38 pp. OCLC 14157788.[11]
  • 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: 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. Work in colour originating as a commission from George Eastman House.
  • Italian Riviera. Rome: Punctum, 2008. ISBN 978-8-895410-16-6. Edition of 40 copies. Made along the Levante Riviera, during his stay in Rapallo, Liguria.
  • 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: 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."
  • Frame: a Retrospective. Austin: University of Texas, 2015. ISBN 978-1-4773-0372-6. With an introduction by Jane Livingston.
  • Mexico. Austin: University of Texas, 2016. ISBN 978-1-4773-1171-4.
  • Bread in Snow. Tokyo: Super Labo, 2019. ISBN 978-4-908512-68-1.


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 (December 7, 2012). "Bright Flash, Small City". The New York Times. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
  2. ^ Campbell, Max (May 12, 2016). "Mark Cohen's Close-Up Street Photography". ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved April 19, 2019 – via
  3. ^ a b "Jumprope". Victoria and Albert Museum. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j [1], John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  5. ^ a b NEA 1975 Annual report Archived December 16, 2010, at the Wayback Machine (PDF), page 97.
  6. ^ "Mark Cohen" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 11, 2010. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  7. ^ "Photography: Mark Cohen", Profiles in Excellence. Penn State Public Broadcasting, 1982. Here [2] at Penn State on Demand. (Starts at 1′43″.)
  8. ^ a b c Estrin, James (May 8, 2014). "Pictures on the Street? It's Complicated". New York Times. Retrieved May 13, 2014.
  9. ^ a b 2004 interview with Thomas Southall, in Grim Street.
  10. ^ a b c 2004 interview with Anne Wilkes Tucker, in the preface to Grim Street.
  11. ^ According to WorldCat, "Also published as Camera, 1980, no. 3."
  12. ^ "Exhibition History List". MoMA. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  13. ^ "1975 News Releases", Art Institute of Chicago.
  14. ^ "Mark Cohen: Strange Evidence". Philadelphia Museum of Art. Retrieved October 25, 2010.
  15. ^ "Mark Cohen: Italian Riviera, 2008", Marywood University.
  16. ^ Moroz, Sarah (October 22, 2013). "Mark Cohen: the photographer who literally shoots from the hip". The Guardian. Retrieved May 15, 2014.
  17. ^ "Mark Cohen – Exhibitions – Nederlands Fotomuseum Rotterdam". Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  18. ^ Nathan Lyons, Vision and Expression (New York: Horizon Press, 1969).
  19. ^ "George Eastman House bio". Archived from the original on April 20, 2001. Retrieved May 30, 2010.
  20. ^ 129 items, detailed in the checklist Archived January 19, 2001, at the Wayback Machine of artists. Retrieved May 30, 2010.
  21. ^ Two items, according to the alphabetical listing of artists, including Girl with Skipping Rope, the cover image of Grim Street. Retrieved May 30, 2010.
  22. ^ Mark Cohen: 1943– Whitney Museum of American Art. Accessed June 21, 2017.

External links[edit]