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  • Colors, Contrast Drew Eye of Olympic Photographer


    Bob Cohn with a photo from the Barcelona closing ceremonies--one of his favorite shots. (ATR)
    (ATR) Bob Cohn was an instrumental figure in Atlanta’s Olympic efforts. He also has a keen eye for photography. 

    On Sunday, Atlanta’s Swan Coach House Gallery had an exhibition of Cohn’s photographs for his 80th birthday party.

    Included in the 50 pictures were about a dozen Olympic- and sport-themed photos. Also featured was the image capturing Georgia State Rep. Denmark Groover pushing back the hands of State House clock in an attempt to gain more time in the legislative session. That photo was a runner up for the 1964 Pulitzer Prize in photography. (Cohn lost out to Bob Jackson’s photo of Jack Ruby getting shot).

    Speaking to Around the Rings, Cohn, a public relations expert who was a board member of the Metro Atlanta Olympic Games Authority and helped persuade Coca-Cola to partner with the torch relay, said the Olympic photos were selected “to show the diversity of things I’ve done.”

    When at the Olympics, Cohn says what sparks his imagination is the color and contrast of the opening and closing ceremonies.

    Cohn and family. (ATR)
    “The ceremonies themselves lend themselves to photography,” he said. The display had a photo from the Barcelona Olympic opening ceremony and the 1994 Goodwill Games opening ceremony.

    The breadth of Cohn’s work impressed his friends and family in attendance.

    Charlie Battle, the former international relations director for ACOG, told ATR, “Bob is a great friend and was a great friend of our bid early on. This display shows his passion, creativity and talent.”

    A veteran of 16 Olympics, Cohn did not grab a shot of his favorite Olympic moment—“The Miracle on Ice” at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics, which were his first Games. Cohn says he brought his daughter to the game, but not a camera.

    “Nothing compared to that,” he said.

    When reflecting on his favorite Olympics, Cohn says Sydney stood out for him as his favorite Games. Barcelona and Lillehammer were his favorite to shoot, however.

    The Swan Coach House Gallery in Atlanta. (ATR)
    “Lillehammer was so crystal clear but cold, so it gave you great contrast,” he said.

    Cohn’s passion for the Olympics goes beyond photography. He has a renowned Olympic memorabilia collection. The Atlanta History Center was selected as the recipient for much of his collection, including an extensive torch collection when Cohn moved to a smaller house a few years ago.

    He said he can’t go to the Olympics anymore. Vancouver was his last. Having had hip replacements, knee replacements and “all kinds of stuff,” Cohn said, “It’s too difficult to get around an Olympics.”

    Still, he said photographers won’t be left for wont with upcoming hosts.

    “Rio is tremendously photographable”, “Korea, from an image perspective, is very modern” and “Tokyo is a funny-looking place,” he said of the juxtaposition of old and new.

    Written by Ed Hula III

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