Mark Cohen – Cotton
Publisher: Super Labo, 2021
Hardcover, 80 pages, English
New in seal
The first picture, gas station through the car window, starts the trip off.
I drove eight days, in July,1991, from Atlanta, Georgia to Memphis, Tennessee along small roads, and stopped along the way. When I got to the cities, like Jackson or Birmingham, or Montgomery, I stopped at parking meters and walked around blocks.
My intention was not to make a book—only pictures.
After thirty years, and the exposure of extreme political incompetence with the recent past governments, I looked at this work again and thought it might be an accidental view of the South in three parts:
Black people, white people, and the infrastructure at the time. Cotton was,
an early, fundamental, economic driver, with profit enhanced and insured by slaves.
COTTON is a picture book, but with a political and social backstory.
I stopped at a small black church and used two pictures to emphasize the hold of religion and strong women.
Instead of square miles of cotton fields I saw its trace in small cardboard boxes.
The book’s last picture of the five boys on the bench seems emblematic of the region’s resulting,
and often segregated leisure. The camera made an unconscious litmus test with black and white film exposed to the acid nature of racism.
I want to thank Yasunori Hoki-san and Koichi Hara-san, Hichiro-san who made this book possible.