Using photography and text as her gateway, Ora Cohen’s black and white archival pigment prints challenge and confront gender identity. Born in Akko, and now living in Pardes Hanna-Karkur, Israel, Cohen began her career 20 years ago, and now works with both digital and film. In one of her most accomplished series, Cohen traveled to Berlin to photograph 20 women who look like men and has also photographed herself. Her process begins by finding her subjects through social media outlets, making contact and forging connections, all steps that inspire what happens before the camera.
“With each of them we talk and then the moment of photography takes place,” said the artist. The resulting portraits capture her subjects’ expressions mainly as a result of their conversation, allowing them to expose themselves to the camera as they wish: playful, contemplative, defiant, questioning, or simply, there. “My goal is to expose women like us and to allow people to see the beauty in us; our relevance,” said Cohen. Her work opens the door for acceptance without the need to change people according to social conventions.
For her current series, Cohen is presenting new work, this time dealing with scenery rather than portrait photography, capturing abandoned and isolated landscapes across the United States.