Photo Gallery

Ira Cohen


Taken while accompanying friends on a book assignment in the early 1980s, Ira Cohen’s photos of Ethiopia offer an intimate look at the lives of rural Ethiopians. The photos represent the disparate  situations of people in different parts of the country, from images of tribal celebrations and of tribal elders to a starving infant suckling his mother’s breast in a hunger camp for famine victims. Cohen related his experience at the hunger camp at Lalibela in his piece entitled Christmas in Ethiopia. “Surrounded by barren mountains in the northern highlands of Ethiopia, ravaged by drought and famine, lies the ancient town of Lalibela, a veritable stronghold of Christianity filled with churches carved out of red rock. It is there we traveled over virtually inaccessible roads through clouds of yellow dust and under the rainbow arches of Kombolcha, Dessie and Weldiya with an Ethiopian driver and our government guide, Worku, who spoke to us eloquently of the plight of his people, of their pride and of their faith. Nowhere was there a hint of green, only the relentless browns and grays of a parched landscape, unworkable farmlands and peasants traveling in search of food.”

This series of photos is among the work of perhaps one the most eclectic living American photographers. Cohen’s experimental mylar photos were exhibited as a part of a two-person show with Man Ray in Paris. His portraits of people from Julian Beck and the Living Theatre to R. Buckminster Fuller have been included in various publications. He lives in New York City where he continues to write poetry, take photos and make films.