Publisher: Editions Xavier Barral / LE BAL
Size: 17 x 25 cm (approx.)
Clothbound hardcover, text by Vince Aletti, design by Xavier Barral. 169 color and b/w illustrations.
"I became a surrealist because I kept walking around the same blocks, and I started taking a picture of a guy’s shoe. I didn’t know what I was doing exactly. I was just being led by whatever I would see."
Mark Cohen was born in 1943 in Wilkes-Barre, a small Pennsylvania mining town. A figure of the street photography genre which dominated American photography in the early 1970s, he is also the inventor of a distinctive photographic language, marked by a fleeting arrangement of lines and, at the same time, an instinctive grasp of the organic, sculptural quality of forms. Two photographs hang opposite each other in his studio: one from Henri Cartier-Bresson’s surrealist period and another by Aaron Siskind. The elegant geometry of one and the dry plenitude of the other transpire in the work of Mark Cohen, which John Szarkowski showed at the MoMA as of 1973.
Over the past 40 years Mark Cohen has walked the length and breadth of the streets in and around his hometown, seizing - or rather extracting - fragments of gestures, postures and bodies. In his photos we see headless torsos, smiling children, willing subjects yet still frighteningly vulnerable, thinly sketched limbs and coats worn like protective cloaks.