Kitty by Roeg Cohen

Roeg Cohen was born in Toronto, Canada. He now lives and works in New York City. This time he’s shot with Kitty.

Was there any exact moment in your life when you fell in love with photography?

As an observer: I recall seeing an exhibition in San Francisco by Howard Schatz. It was portraits of homeless people shot against a black backdrop set up on the street. I saw this more than ten years before I picked up a camera with intention. So I had no opinion based on photographic knowledge. But I was transfixed by the images. I just looked up the series. I haven’t seen them in years, and they are still impactful. After I started taking pictures I saw an exhibition of Irving Penn’s artist portraits. I really fell in love with those images.

I suppose it’s not photography as a medium that I love. More so, it’s the work of a few.

What was the first picture you took on analog?

Oh, I don’t know. I grew up before digital photography existed.

“I get frustrated when I can’t achieve the kind of color pictures I want. Sometimes it just looks too much like real life.“

Apart from this series, you mostly shoot black & white pictures. Why is that?

There’s a few reasons: I don’t think I’m good with color. I get frustrated when I can’t achieve the kind of color pictures I want. Sometimes it just looks too much like real life. There has to be something specifically in color that is interesting for me to shoot it. Black and white is reductive in a way; more sculptural and out of a specific time. Also, I process film at home, and I don’t have the facilities for color.

Do you feel any connection between you and your subjects? Can you describe it?

Sometimes I do. It can feel like an accelerated bonding.

Do you have a muse or a place that inspires you more than others?

Both are always in flux. I’m not fond of the term “muse.” I feel it’s overused. And it relegates the people you don’t refer to as your muse in a lesser role.