Collectors on Collecting: Peter J. Cohen on “other people’s photographs”


Peter J. Cohen Discusses his Snapshot Collection | April 8, 2014 from Swann Galleries on Vimeo.
On April 8, Swann Galleries hosted a talk by photography collector and author Peter J. Cohen. An art enthusiast since the age of 10, Cohen began collecting contemporary drawings and photographs before amassing a collection of “other people’s photographs,” aka snapshots. He groups these images according to themes, such as Dangerous Women, People in Trees, Groups of People on Poles & Towers, Motion & Blurs and Double Exposures. 

Cohen has donated and loaned significant portions of his collection to museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Morgan Library, Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Fine Arts Houston and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 


His publications include The Three Graces (Yale University Press), Girls Standing on Lawns (MoMA Publications) and The Sports Show (Minneapolis Institute of Art).

Material from Cohen’s collection is offered in Swann’s upcoming auction of Vernacular Photography:

Lot 97: A select group of 15 charming, abstracted, strange and beautiful snapshots, including three double exposures, 1920s-50s. From the Collection of Peter J. Cohen.
Lot 98: The Ends, group of 34 delightful snapshots featuring men and women bending over, mugging, mooning, and otherwise facing away from the camera, 1920s-50s. From the Collection of Peter J. Cohen.