Ron Cohen

WHY PORTRAITS?  Photography has been a life-long passion for me. I had originally planned to devote myself in retirement to street photography. But time and again, I found myself drawn to a subset of that genre, street portraits. Inspired by a viewer's comment, I had for a time retitled this web site, "Portraits with Soul."
Street portraits, and street photography generally, are all about telling stories—stories that evoke emotion. People engaged in an activity, or interacting with others is one kind of story. Fleeting moments of mood or emotion, conveyed by facial expression or body language, is another. These two often overlap. For me, they are the soul of art.
Broadly speaking, all the images you see here are "street" photos even though few were taken on an actual street. Candid, informal and expressive, they earn the rubric of "street" in today’s parlance by their character rather than their location. I would add, lastly, that some few are not portraits at all, just conventional street photos.
For me, photography is a creative journey. It keeps me going in my retirement. I wake up each day looking forward to the ever-fresh challenge of taking a great photo.
WHY BLACK & WHITE?  If you dig deeply into this site, you’ll see an evolution from color to black-and-white. As I became more attuned to the stories told by photographs, I realized that color overwhelmed most such stories, whereas black-and-white let them breathe free. Black-and-white also reveals patterns of light and shadow that often transforms a story into a poem.
INFLUENCES.  The following bits of wisdom have influenced my photography, and often my outlook on life, as well:
When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls. -Ted Grant
If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough. -Robert Capa 
Color is descriptive. Black and white is interpretive. -Elliott Erwitt 
We do not take pictures with our cameras, but with our hearts and minds. -Arnold Newman 
Photography is not documentary, but intuition, a poetic experience. -Henri Cartier-Bresson 
In the fields of observation chance favors only the prepared mind. -Louis Pasteur 
I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. -Joseph Campbell 
We can do anything we want; the trick is, it’s usually waiting for us just beyond our comfort zone. -Winston Hendrickson 
This above all: to thine own self be true… -Polonious in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

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