Having transitioned to fine art photography from a 40 year career in biomedical research, I have come to realize that I approach photography exactly the way I approached my scientific work. Photography provides the most important elements that stimulated me in my previous career – exploration, discovery, imagination, and creativity – only the subject matter, tools, and location have changed. Like my work in science, I am motivated to share my work and vision with others. Over time, I have become more of an image maker than a straight photographer. My process begins with the discovery and exploration of a subject, and then moves on to an imagining of what the image could become. Using the raw image I experiment with light, contrast, color, sharpening, compositing, and editing - all processes which have become explorations in and of themselves.
My images are often inspired by elements of the landscape; I painted them as a teenager, encouraged by my artist mother. But now I see landscape as an invitation to the viewer to enter imaginary worlds, ones which may suggest past or future visions, offshoots of the moment that the shutter clicked. Abstract patterns on boat hulls (Waterline/Overboard) or dying agave fronds (Agave Night Visions/Agave Climate Change) have suggested to me that imprints of surrounding vistas from the perspective of these inanimate surfaces are etched upon them. For instance, I imagine “what if” a withered agave frond were to record evidence on its surface of the climate change that has contributed to its demise as it folds to the ground. Once the idea is there, the more I look, the more I see patterns and colors that might constitute such evidence. My job is to bring a record of that insight to fruition. While it’s not my purpose to dwell on it here, developing a scientific idea to the point of publishing a research paper was a very similar process for me.
I have also used perspective and scale to magnify tree stumps into craggy cliffs (Moonlit, Moonlight Burning) and small waterfalls into mountain cascades (Climate Falls). I pause at these natural wonders to make images of them in order to preserve their existence and enlarge their importance as records of what natural beauty can be. Here I wish to set apart their beauty from threats of climate change by keeping their settings pristine, their surroundings otherworldly, their scale majestic. As I have unbound myself from representing reality, I have freely expanded the time of the image far beyond the duration of one shutter click. One advantage of art is to be able to recontextualize reality, allowing the imagination to take one to new places. As you look through my images I hope you will share in my imaginings!
Richard Alan Cohen grew up in Portland, Maine, and attended Bowdoin College where he co-majored in art and science. Having always maintained an avid interest in art, he has now transitioned from a 40-year career in cardiovascular research to being a full-time fine art photographer living in northwest Connecticut. The aspects of discovery (now of subject, light, and color in the field) as well as the imagination and creativity involved in developing a concept (now in editing and printing of each image), are very similar in the two careers, with many of the same rewards. Richard has exhibited his photographs in numerous solo and group shows at venues including 555 Gallery, Panopticon Gallery, the Griffin Museum of Photography, Galeria PhotoGraphic San Miguel Allende, Galatea Fine Art Gallery, Kingman Gallery, Sohn Fine Art and Five Points Gallery.
Based on his experience as a youth in and around boatyards, abstract seascapes in “Waterlines” and iconic orifices in “Overboard” have been derived from photographs of the textures on the sides of boat hulls sitting in their cradles. Abstract landscapes have also been visualized on the dying fronds of Mexican agave in his series, “Agave Night Visions”, “Agave Climate Change”, and “Agave in Turmoil”. Recently, his concerns about the environment have led him to create otherworldly landscapes from mossy, rotting tree stumps in “Moonlit” and “Moonlight Burning”, and in small, hidden waterfalls in “Climate Falls”. In much of his work, grand landscapes have been recontextualized from far smaller environmental details.
Galatea Gallery, Boston. MA 2015-2017
Gallery on the Green, Canton, CT 2016-
Voice of Art, Cheshire, CT 2020-
Kingman Gallery, Deer Isle, Maine. Gallerist: Anne Page
Galeria PhotoGraphic San Miguel, San Miguel de Allende, GO, Mexico. Gallerist: Jo Brenzo
Boston Art, Boston MA, Gallerists: Kim Curhan and Elizabeth Graham
● Galeria PhotoGraphic San Miguel, San Miguel Allende, GTO, Mexico. “Agave Visions” Twenty-four images from “Agave Night Visions” and “Agave Climate Change” portfolios curated by gallerist, Jo Brenzo.
● Gallery on the Green, Canton Artists Association, Canton, CT. 8 images in “Climate Falls” were presented in acrylic mounts in the Spotlight Gallery. Video of installation here.
●Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester, MA. Twelve images from the “Overboard” portfolio. Solo show awarded by Paula Tognarelli as part of 2018 Annual Juried Exhibition.
●Gallery on the Green, Canton CT. “Along the Waterline”
●Gallery on the Green, Canton CT. “Objectives of Desire: Vignettes”
●SOWA First Friday Morse Editions
●Galatea Gallery, Boston “Objectives of Desire”
●SOWA First Friday Morse Editions
●SOWA First Friday Morse Editions
Two-Person Juried Show
●“Waterlines”. Westport Free Library, sponsored by the Westport (MA) Art Group, Awarded by Karen Davis of Davis-Orton Gallery, Hudson, NY.
Five Points Center for the Visual Arts, Torrington, CT. Invited to include six images from the “Climate Falls” portfolio in the show “Paying Attention”. Installation view
Five-Person Juried Shows
●Voice of Art, New Members Exhibition, 300 George Street Medical Research Building, New Haven, CT. Five images from “Climate Falls” portfolio.
●Panopticon Gallery, Boston. First Look 2018. Six “Waterline” images selected by gallery director, Kat Kiernan.
●Sohn Gallery, Lenox, MA. 7th Annual Juried Show, Jurors: Ann Jon, Wayne Alpern, Jonas Dovydenas, and Susan Wissler. 4 selected images, Waterlines-3 and -11, Overboard-1 and-3.
Group Juried Shows
●Sohn Gallery, Lenox, MA, “Perspective”, 7 artists, juror, Cassandra Sohn. 4 selected images, Climate Falls 1, 2, 10, and 20.
●Voice of Art, Litchfield Inn, CT. Included image: “Planet Falls”.
●Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts, Providence, RI, 6th Open Call. Juror, Aline Smithson. Selected image: “Waterline-11”.
●Five Points Gallery, Torrington, CT. Small Works exhibition. Juror, Brigid Kennedy. Selected image: “Overboard-6”.
●Galatea Fine Art Gallery, Boston, MA. New England Collective X Juried exhibition, Juror, Katherine French, Catamount Arts. Selected image: “Moonlight Burning 1”.
●Plymouth Center for the Arts, 8th Annual Fine Art of Photography Open Juried Exhibition, Jurors: Mark Chester, Suzanne Revy, Bob Singer, Selected Image: “Overboard-3”.
●New England Collective IX juried exhibition, Juror: Marni Elyse Katz. Selected image: “Passage-Black Spruce Bog”
●Griffin Museum of Photography: Photographic Abstractions, Lafayette City Gallery juried exhibition, Juror: Paula Tognarelli. Selected image: “Agave Night Vision-9”.
●Gallery on the Green, 31st Annual Open Juried Exhibition, Juror: Melanie Carr. Selected image: “Passage-Sumac”
●Fotofoto Gallery, Huntington, NY, 14th National Juried Competition, Juror: Charles Riley. Selected image: Waterline-11. Awarded 1st prize.
●Gallery on the Green, Canton, CT, Artists Association, 50th Annual Open Juried Exhibition, Juror, Lisa Hayes Williams, New Britain (CT) Museum of American Art, Selected image: “Waterline-15”.
●Ashton Gallery, San Diego, CA, Orange is the New Black, Juror: Jenna S. Jacobs, San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, Selected image: “Psyche”.
●Griffin Museum of Photography: “The Visual Metric”, Juror, Paula Tognarelli, Lafayette Center Gallery, Selected image: “Finale”
●Westport Art Group: “Treasure”, Juror, Karen Davis, 3 selected images from “Objectives of Desire: Vignettes”, awarded two-person show.
●Davis-Orton Gallery: 3rd Annual Group Show, Juror, Paula Tognarelli, Selected image: “Bilge drain”.
●Griffin Museum of Photography: “Space” exhibition, Lafayette Center Gallery, Juror, Paula Tognarelli, Selected image: “Psyche”
●Gallery on the Green, Canton, CT, Artists Association, 44th Annual Open Juried Exhibition
Selected image: “Snail Pool”
●Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery, Portsmouth NH, New Hampshire Artists Association, Open Juried Exhibition, Selected image: “Frames”, Juror’s honorable mention
●Atelier 21 at The Rockport Art Association, Griffin Museum of Photography
●Atelier 21: Griffin Museum of Photography
● L’Oeil de la Photographie features "World View" portfolio
● L’Oeil de la Photographie features “Climate Falls” portfolio.
● L’Oeil de la Photographie features “Planet Falls” portfolio.
● Lenscratch on-line daily journal feature by editor, Aline Smithson, about “Moonlit” and “Waterline” portfolios.
● Edge of Humanity Magazine, on-line humanist journal featured “Moonlit”: “Trees Under the Night Sky" 4/26/19
●Don’t Take Pictures: Rule Breakers, featured Waterlines, curated by Kat Kiernan, August 30, 2017, https://goo.gl/LdmvaU
●aPhotoEditor, featured Ambiguity of Cityspace, curated by Jonathan Blaustein, November 6, 2015, https://goo.gl/a2xEQ3
●Griffin Museum of Photography: 24th Annual Juried Exhibition, Director’s Award: Paula Tognarelli, Griffin Museum Solo Show awarded June/July 2019.
●International Fine Art Photography Awards, Nominee, Abstract Category: “Overboard” portfolio.
●Fotofoto Gallery, Huntington, NY, 14th National Juried Competition, “Waterline-11” awarded 1st prize by juror, Charles Riley, Director, Huntington Museum of Art.
●Neutral Density Awards, Honorable mention (Conceptual category): Alien Portraits
●Neutral Density Awards, Honorable mention (Conceptual category): Waterlines
●Neutral Density Awards, Honorable mention (Conceptual category): Overboard
●Neutral Density Awards, Honorable mention (Conceptual category): Objectives of Desire: Ginza
●Neutral Density Awards, Honorable mention (Conceptual category): Objectives of Desire: Vignettes
●Neutral Density Awards, Honorable mention (Conceptual Category): Ambiguity of Cityspace,
●Neutral Density Awards, Honorable mention (Conceptual Category): What the Dummies Can Tell Us
Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine: Graduation with Art Minor, 1972.
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 1976
Photoshop and printing training, William Morse, 2013-2017.
Atelier 21 with Meg Birnbaum at Griffin Museum of Photography, 2014.
Emily Belz has provided welcome tutelage, guidance and advice, 2016-present.
D65 Creativity workshop with John Paul Caponigro and Seth Resnick, Cushing Maine, 2016.
Gum bichromate printing workshop, Diana Bloomfield, 2018
Multiple-exposure-in-camera workshop, Valda Bailey, 2018
Alternative methods in digital printing, Craig Stevens, Maine Media Workshops, 2019