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Eileen Cowin by Farah Hussain

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Farah Hussain

on 22 November 2011

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Transcript of Eileen Cowin by Farah Hussain

Born in New York in 1947 (currently 64)
Was the chair of the Photography Department at California State University at Fullerton for many years
Her work has been presented in over 30 solo exhibitions & in more than 165 group exhibitions
Cowin does fine art photography
Her images are meant to awaken the senses and convey the relationship between fact and fiction
Eileen Cowin Biography Lighting


Uses studio lighting
I like how she makes the backgrounds black in her photographs and she puts all the light on her subject


Composition With skillful use of gesture and pose, she creates mysterious, theatrical scenarios
Cowin mostly uses dimmed/black or blurry backgrounds
Her viewpoints are often either close-up or a little far away
All of her photographs are taken at eye level
Untitled (Magritte), 1988 -
This is one of Cowin's famous photographs.

Kind of Photography She does still life and narrative photography
The visual stories she creates are poetic and suggestive rather than representational
Cowin also works with video instillations
She manipulates the conventions of photography, film, and video to tell a different kind of story - one that explores where truth and fiction merge, yet presents no conclusions
She does 19th century montages to reportage photo-essays and storytelling photographs of the 1960s
Her work emulates poses seen in paintings by Jan Van Eyck, Ingres, and Goya while adopting the styles of film noir and television
Untitled from Disappearing by Inches series, © 2000

Example of the narrative photography Cowin uses. By making the man's eyelids the point of focus, one can notice

there is a small injury. Then combined with the object in the picture on the left, you can make a connection. She uses space when she puts a focus on the subject that is closer while making the background less intense, clear, and detailed. For example, the candle picture almost has a 3D effect. In Cowin's piece, the most significant elements were line, color, and emphasis. Cowin included line in her photograph due to the candle, hand, and what body going vertically up and down. Emphasis was included because there is an obvious focus in the 1st and 3rd picture on the candle and the bird, and one's eyes goes directly to it. She uses color in the 3rd photograph because of how colorful the bird is and they're bright, vivid colors. Cowin, Eileen. Untitled (Magritte). 1988. Photography Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago. Museum of Contemporary Photography. Web. 19 Nov. 2011. <http://www.mocp.org/collections/permanent/cowin_eileen.php>. Bibliography Untitled. 2002. Photograph. Eileen Cowin. By Eileen Cowin. Web. 19 Nov. 2011. <http://www.eileencowin.com/2000s.html>.
Untitled, 2002 Interpretation:
In her works, she tries to provoke the viewer to use their senses. In this photograph, she provokes the sense of sight. The reason she has the three pictures connected is so it can tell a story, and it is usually up to the viewer to make a guess. My imitation The strengths are the viewpoint and angle, and how much the subject grabs the viewer's attention. Ones eyes cannot wander around the photograph, as there is only one clear place to focus. She makes something very simple tell a story, which I like. Also, the way she takes her photographs are unique and not cliche. They aren't boring either. I would name this "Celebrations". Lady Killer, ©1977-1978

Lady Killer, ©1977-1978 Untitled from Disappearing by Inches series, © 2000 Narrative photograph. Telling how a man is preparing to escape and then does escape. Could have something to do with marriage, hence why photographer includes wedding ring purposefully in picture. Zellen, Jody. "Eileen Cowin." ArtScene. Web. 19 Nov. 2011. <http://www.artscenecal.com/ArticlesFile/Archive/Articles2000/Articles0300/ECowinA.html>. "Eileen Cowin." Artcylopedia. John Malyon/Specifica, Inc. Web. 19 Nov. 2011. <http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/cowin_eileen.html>.
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