Mark Cohen was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania where he lived and photographed for most of his life. His work was first exhibited in 1969 at the George Eastman House but came to prominence with his first solo exhibition at MoMA in 1973. Known primarily for his black and white images, Cohen was also a pioneer of the 1970s color movement.
Working in a “shoot-from-the-hip” style and making use of the legacy of street photographers from Eugène Atget to Garry Winogrand, Cohen flouts conventions of traditional portraiture. “There’s no conversation. I’m not interested in having to explain myself,” he has said. “I’m just using people on the street in the most transitory way.” Shooting in the gritty environs of working-class Pennsylvania, Cohen brought to street photography a literal and innovative closeness that came from his style of holding the camera at arm's length without looking through the viewfinder while using an unusually wide-angle lens.
Cohen is the recipient of two Guggenheim Grants and his work is in the collections of major museums throughout the world.
Gelatin silver print; printed 1979
16 x 20 inches
Jump Rope, 1975
Gelatin silver print; printed 2001
12 1/2 x 18 5/8 inches
Wisp of Hair, August 21, 1973
Gelatin silver print; printed later
12 5/8 x 17 3/4 inches
Hole in Shirt, Wilkes-Barre, PA, June 18, 1974
Gelatin silver print; printed c.1974
11 7/8 x 17 3/4 inches
Upside Down Girl, 1974
Gelatin silver print; printed 2014
12 3/4 x 17 5/8 inches
Boy and Football, 1974
Gelatin silver print; printed 2013
12 x 17 3/4 inches
Boy in Yellow Shirt Smoking, Scranton, PA, 1977
Dye transfer print, printed 2009
11 7/8 x 18 inches