Shooting From The Hip: 20 Stunning Photos Of Pennsylvania Grit In The 1970s

Boy in Yellow Shirt Smoking, 1977.

Boy in Yellow Shirt Smoking, 1977.

 

Mark Cohen’s photographs of people in his native Wilkes-Barre and other working-class Pennsylvania locations were taken fast and surreptitiously – he held the flash light in one hand and the camera away from his face. He got up close and the bright lights flicked on. The photograph is taken before the subject can tense up and pose. Speed and movement are evident in his work. The pictures are full of life.

He explains another benefit?

“If you’re very close to people and someone takes a swing at you, you don’t want to have your head behind a viewfinder because you can’t be aware of the situation.”

On guy swung.

 

Arm (via)

Arm (via)

 

Cohen shot from the hip in so-called “grab shots”.

He explained:*

“If you have your camera up to your eye, you can’t keep track of what’s going on. By holding my camera down here [he gestures to his waist] I can suddenly take pictures. There’s no conversation. I’m not interested in having to explain myself. I’m just using people on the street in the most transitory way.”

 

Girl and Man at Road, 1975.

Girl and Man at Road, 1975.

 

In this video, Cohen explains how he does it:

 

 

 

Pine Street School, Hazelton, 1977

Pine Street School, Hazelton, 1977

 

MarkCohen_KIDS_STREET

Upside-Down Girl, 1974

Upside-Down Girl, 1974

 

Knee, 1973

Knee, 1973

 

Flashed Boy in Blue Jacket With Six Shooter, 1974.

Flashed Boy in Blue Jacket With Six Shooter, 1974.

 

Smoking Woman | Girl, 1971.

Smoking Woman | Girl, 1971.

 

Girl Holding Blackberries, 1975.

Girl Holding Blackberries, 1975.

 

One Red Glove, 1975.

One Red Glove, 1975.

 

UT_Fig_147_2,

UT_Fig_147_2,

 

Family Walking, 1977

Family Walking, 1977

 

Karate Stance 1977

Karate Stance 1977

 

Legs and Boy in Pool, 1977

Legs and Boy in Pool, 1977

 

Inner Tube and Toys on Porch, 1977

Inner Tube and Toys on Porch, 1977

 

Mark Cohen, 1970s (11)

Woman in Scarf, 1975

Woman in Scarf, 1975

Girl with Bat and Ball, 1977

Girl with Bat and Ball, 1977

People on Porch, 65, 63, 1977

People on Porch, 65, 63, 1977