Grim Street.  Photographs by Mark Cohen.
Grim Street.  booktease preview.

Grim Street.

Photographs by Mark Cohen.
powerHouse Books, New York, 2004. 176 pp., 100 tritone illustrations, 12x9½".

Though Mark Cohen is known to the photographic community (he mounted a solo show at MoMA in the 1970s), this is the first monograph to treat his gritty, off-kilter street photography in depth. Grim Street showcases Cohen’s black-and-white photographs, shot pre-focused, from the hip as he roamed his hometown of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania from the 60s to the early 90s. Every photograph encapsulates a chance encounter, and, as such, they’re often violently fragmented, with heads and limbs cropped out at the joint, as if the person or day could be remembered only in part. This libidinous perspective provides a provocative eye view of stockinged legs, worried children, ribbed shirts, perky breasts, half smiles, raised fists, and truncated torsos, made all the more tantalizing and confrontational by the harsh light of the flash. Though he is often inches away from his subjects, Cohen provides a panoramic vista of this small American mining town. - Denise Wolff

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