The Redding Pilot

Greg Cohen: Opening the eyes of the world through his photographic talent

June 21, 2007

Greg Cohen first picked up a camera in 1993, and has lived throughout the United States shooting photos along the way ever since. Now living in Los Angeles and focused on a global scale, he is currently developing photography projects in Central Africa and Southeast Asia.

The son of George and Virginia Cohen of Redding Ridge, Mr. Cohen is currently exhibiting his color photography in a compilation with Peter Guttman, a writer, author, television personality, lecturer, and photographer, at the Allen Gallery in Chelsea in New York City.

The gallery show, titled 'Buddhism and Beyond,' consists of 19 images from Burma (now known as Myanmar), Laos and India documenting the time Mr. Cohen and Mr. Guttman spent observing the religion and culture of Southeast Asia and India, with the main focus on monks and spirituality in that part of the world. A percentage of the proceeds from the gallery opening night will benefit the new Meggin Buddhist monastery being built in Rangoon, Myanmar, to honor the Rev. Sayadawphayagyi Badantha Vathava Panni Meggin, who died in 2005.

During a recent visit to Redding in conjunction with his New York exhibition, which opened on May 24, Mr. Cohen said he attended John Read Middle School and Wooster School in Danbury. After four college years in Colorado and a few more years living in Tennessee, Alaska and Seattle, where he worked as a film assistant on the television sitcom Northern Exposure, he moved to Los Angeles, 'where all the work was, and I've been there for 10 years.'

'It was there I worked as a camera assistant on the television shows 24, Grey's Anatomy, Malcolm in the Middle, Joan of Arcadia, and Judging Amy,' he said. He recently completed shooting a feature film in Tucson, Ariz., starring his girlfriend, comedian Robin Reiser.

'For the last few years, I've been focusing on still photography and shooting most of my images while traveling,' Mr. Cohen said. 'I am planning to return to Southeast Asia in January. After three weeks in remote Vietnamese villages, I'll be in Cambodia for three weeks, working with an orphanage near Phnom Phen to help with their mission. While infants are adopted regularly, toddlers are left behind to live parentless,' he said.

'I've also been working with an epidemiologist, Annie Rimoin, who has been studying the monkey pox disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1993. There are several stories to tell down there, but the main one will be the commitment of Annie and her team of Congolese clinicians fighting the animal-transmitted disease in that war-torn country.'

To support the story, Mr. Cohen said, he would be distributing 25 cameras among the villagers, farmers, children, and soldiers. 'By orienting the people to the power of photography, they will see how their own images can directly benefit their community. I'm also working on another project that is a complete departure from my photo-journalistic stuff, but I can't talk about it now,' he said.

'Photography is witness to all the insanity going on in the world. I don't expect to change the world with my photography, but hopefully, to get some normalcy back a little bit,' said the 36-year-old photographer.

Greg Cohen, a photographer and filmmaker, formerly of Redding Ridge and now living in Los Angeles,
is shown with members of the Paduang tribe in Shan State, Burma (now known as Myanmar).