Joan Lebold Cohen
Asian Studies II
November 20 – December 19, 1999
It was all very innocent in the beginning. I had to have slides to teach about Asian art history.
I had no notion of being a photographer or that I would become addicted. What began as a simple documenting exercise of people and landscape became a quest to reveal the full-blown culture, humanity and the range of forms and patterns in nature. I am a student of cultural history and each image promised a more profound level. Moreover, I was in constant dialogue with the paintings I had studied and the formal aspects of composition.
If asked what kind of photographer I am – I always think of myself as a photographer of mountain mists. However, I do so much like to take pictures of people. I strive to have them reveal their inner quality and natural being.
Joan Lebold Cohen, art historian/photographer, a specialist in Chinese art and film, has been a sometime resident and regular visitor to Asia since 1961. Her book, The New Chinese Painting, 1949-1986, introduced recent generations of Chinese artists to the world. She curated four exhibitions of new Chinese art in America, including a photographic exhibition titled New York, The City and Its People, shown in Beijing and Tokyo. Her other books are Yunnan School, A Renaissance in Chinese Painting; Angkor Monuments of the God-Kings; and Buddha. Ms. Cohen is the photographer and co-author with her husband, Jerome Alan Cohen, of China Today and Her Ancient Treasures. Her photographs have been widely exhibited and are represented in public and private collections in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Cohen has lectured, for more than 22 years at Tufts University/School of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and is currently a research fellow at Harvard University’s Fairbank Center for East Asian Research and an associate of Columbia University’s Modern China Seminar.