Local photographer creates art in unexpected places


First Posted: 3/7/2014

It was one of the hottest days of 2012 (perhaps the hottest day), when David Cohen set out with three friends on an adventure at an area graveyard—automobile graveyard, that is.

With camera in hand, Cohen and his group, after gaining permission, explored the compound and its electric wired fences and piles of old auto parts, calling for a a ride back out when they tired of the heat and sun.

Cohen, 60, of Shavertown, displayed one of his photographs from that day in a Northeast Photography Club exhibit the weekend of Feb. 14 at the First Presbyterian Church of Clarks Summit, winning the “Best of Show” award. The photograph, titled “0% APR,” shows an abstract view of piles of old rusted cars with flat tires and bent rims, lit by bright specular sunlight.

“When I saw this photograph through my viewfinder,” Cohen said, “the cars and the way they were stacked reminded me of the old cartoons where the headlights and grills made great faces, and the tires walked more than rolled. It struck me as interesting and funny.”

As evidenced by his website, davesviews.zenfolio.com, Cohen thrives as a photographer in many different settings from nature to sporting events, but gravitates to the unusual and seemingly forgotten.

“I always enjoyed hiking all of the parks in our area, so I like landscape photography a lot,” he said, “but I prefer looking for stranger places to shoot. I’ve taken my camera to junk yards, old dilapidated buildings, closed prisons and historic cemeteries. I have just as much fun getting really close to a flower with my macro lens as I do photographing Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia,or the Steamtown Historical Train Museum in Scranton.”

He joined the Northeast Photography Club about two years ago, and said it was “one of the coolest things” he’s done. Describing it as “a very diverse group of amateur and professional photographers,” he said, “It’s a wonderful club to learn how to improve your own skills, weather it’s compositional or in the technical questions we have about the camera and processing tools we use.”

Cohen said his interest in photography began in 1964, when, at age 10, he took pictures at the New York World’s Fair with a Kodak Instamatic camera. Then, in 1978, he obtained his first good 35mm camera, which he took along on a trip out west. That, he said, was when he started getting serious about the art, for which he has maintained a passion ever since.

He and his wife, Melba, reside in Shavertown with their two dogs, Sophie and Shelly, and he owns laundromats which allows him a flexible schedule for photo trips. He regularly updates the gallery on his website with photos from these trips, and encourages fellow photographers and those who admire his work to visit the page often.

“Shown here are the places and things I was able to enjoy even more because of photography,” states the website introduction. “When I look through my viewfinder, what I find often amazes me. Form and composition combine with color and tone to make up what I see and now what you will see.”

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