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Italian Riviera.
Photographs by Mark Cohen.
Punctum Press, Rome, 2008. 96 pp., 35 black & white illustrations, 6x8½".

Publisher's Description
Mark Cohen adheres to the fundamental principles of street photography. He uses small format equipment and chooses the urban context as his unique field of action. Despite this he does not haunt large metropolises but, almost without exception, produces his work in small towns and, above all, in his hometown of Wilkes-Barre, a coal mining suburb of Pennsylvania, where he was born and where he has always lived. This is also true of the series he produced along the Levante Riviera in Liguria, during his stay in Rapallo. The scale of places in which the American photographer moves, as well as his attitude, is essentially unchanging. Unlike fellow photographers working on the streets of New York, Paris or London, Cohen is actually unable to disappear into the crowd and remains constantly visible. The act of photography becomes a veritable performance for him, made up of ambushes, agility and a rapid encounter/collision with his subjects the moment the shutter is released . . . The aesthetics and the content of the American artist’s photographs are essentially the same on the Ligurian coast as they are just a few steps from home. Wherever he is, Cohen continues to use the same method and remains sensitive to similar influences. His work presupposes a strong ability to plan. Although, as we mentioned earlier, his work contains the street photographer’s instinctiveness, this acts within the boundaries of a plan which corresponds to his idea of the world and of photography. Beyond the genius loci (geography, even if recognisable and typical, proves to be a chance element in his work) and the decisive moment, in Italy as elsewhere, Cohen uses photography to tell his own story.


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