Galleria: Mark Cohen @ The Danziger Gallery

Mark_Cohen_BW_500px_72Flash, long believed to represent the bane of street photography, became an integral part of Mark Cohen’s approach throughout the 1970s. Cohen reimagined flash as a means by which to elicit a reaction. Provocation was the goal, or – at the very least – a byproduct. In that spirit, Cohen would wander the streets of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, invading people’s personal space just prior to shining a flash bulb in their eyes. The results represent a strange, frenetic alchemy, 1,000x more relevant given the state of citizen photography. Critics maintain Cohen straddles the line between commentary and perversion, citing images that tend to exploit young children in a manner that can only be described as sexual. And yet, it is precisely this uncertain area which renders Cohen’s work an ongoing topic for discussion. In the age of Instagram and Tumblr and Facebook and Twitter, the mainstream sexualization of minors hasn’t only become commonplace, it’s uncharacteristically rewarded.

(Mark Cohen continues at the Danziger Gallery through 6/20, free, 527 West 23rd Street.)

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