Hella Mose

It amazes me how often the materials of certain photographers pop into my workflow again and again. It seems meant to be, and when it happens it offers a great opportunity to delve deeper into considering a photographers methods and intentions. One such photographer is Mose Cohen. Cohen was born in 1884 in New York City and came to the Bay Area to pursue photography in 1906, two months before the earthquake. In 1908 he began working for the Oakland Tribune, eventually opening his own studio on Franklin Street in Oakland in 1927. He photographed nearly every major event, structure, and famous person to come through the city. His archives at the Bancroft Library and the Oakland Museum of California show a strong focus on early Bay Area aviation and boxing. I recently digitized a collection of prints belonging to the Oakland History Room pertaining to the Oakland Downtown Property Owners Association. The prints are an interesting tour of downtown Oakland from the 1930’s to the late 50’s, and there are many Cohen’s among them.