Painting With Light

The Introduction
Sir George F. Pollock

Reviews, Awards &
Past Exhibitions

New Digital Pictures

Articles by John Neville Cohen

Colour Possibilities for Art Consultants and Interior Designers

Abstract Pictures

Slide Show


The Terms of Purchase

Contact John



Press Release Information

John's Art Links




John Neville Cohen
A Visionary in Photography John Neville Cohen stands as a paragon of photographic artistry, his lens capturing more than mere images—it captures imagination. With a pioneering spirit, Cohen’s ‘Spirit of Spring’ remains an emblematic piece, showcasing his ‘painting with light’ technique. This method, a blend of innovation and tradition, forges a visual symphony from a portrait transparency and a tulip’s negative image on Kodachrome film.

Innovation Beyond the Darkroom
Cohen’s artistry flourished in an era before digital dominance. His hands crafted wonders with light and film, not pixels. The 1960s bore witness to his ingenuity, as he manipulated Kodachrome color reversal film to birth images that defied conventional photography, without the crutch of digital software, or darkroom alchemy.

A Celebrated Exhibitionist
With over 20 solo exhibitions gracing metropolises like New York, London, and Edinburgh, Cohen’s work has captivated audiences worldwide. His unique approach to projection photography—capturing projected images in unconventional ways—continues to resonate with art lovers, transcending cultural and geographical boundaries.

The Essence of Cohen’s Craft
At its core, John Neville Cohen’s art is a dance of light and form, a testament to the power of pure photography and narrative. His use of projectors, crystals, and reflections adds depth and complexity to his work, challenging perceptions and inviting viewers to partake in his sophisticated visual feast.

An Undiscovered Gem
Despite the whims of search algorithms, Cohen’s complete works remain a treasure trove for those who seek the enchanting interplay of light and shadow. His art, a hidden gem, awaits discovery by connoisseurs of photographic magic.

A Renaissance Man
John Neville Cohen is not merely a photographer; he is a renaissance man. His passions span from the art of projection photography to the realms of Asian antiquities and classic Jensen automobiles. His literary contributions include ‘The History of Jacey Cinemas,’ ‘The Cohen Collection’ of Asian art, and a unique philatelic album for young collectors.

Invitation to Explore
We invite you to delve into the world of John Neville Cohen, where photography transcends its bounds and becomes a canvas of wonder. For further insights and to view his acclaimed works, please download the accompanying PDF.

Note: This press release is a compilation of various sources and is presented in the third person to maintain the integrity of the original quotations and perspectives.

Discover the Special Art of John Neville Cohen
John Neville Cohen is an artist of light, transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. His creations are not mere photographs; they are statements of fantasy and beauty that challenge the viewer to see beyond reality.

As Cohen himself articulates, “The artist begins with a blank canvas, but the photographer’s canvas is always full.” It is within this full canvas that Cohen weaves his magic, distinguishing his art with three key attributes:
1. Invention: Cohen’s ‘painting with light’ technique, developed in the early 1960s, revolutionized photography without the aid of computers or darkroom processes, earning him international acclaim.
2. Purity: His commitment to pure photographic techniques set his work apart, producing Kodachrome transparencies that left peers and experts in awe.
3. Fantasy: Cohen’s ability to craft fantasy from reality offers a fresh perspective, making his mesmerizing art a unique and valuable addition to the world of photography.

For a glimpse into the remarkable world of John Neville Cohen, peruse the press cuttings and letters that attest to his genius.

This press release aims to encapsulate the essence of John Neville Cohen’s work and his contribution to the art of photography. It’s designed to be informative, engaging, and reflective of Cohen’s unique place in the art world. John Neville Cohen’s remarkable photography is a canvas painted with curiosity, innovation, and a love for the extraordinary. His artistry transcends traditional photography, inspiring viewers with his unique and captivating approach.

A World First
Known for his iconic photography ‘Spirit of Spring’ created by using his own innovative technique of ‘painting with light’. By blending a portrait transparency with a negative image of a red tulip on the same Kodachrome emulsion, he achieved a captivating and harmonious composition. The interplay of light and form in this work evokes a sense of magic and wonder, making it one of his most celebrated creations.

John’s technique involves photographing projected images, but not necessarily onto a screen. His portfolio includes stunning photographs that evoke emotions and intrigue. His limited-edition prints resonate universally, appealing to all who appreciate the purity of this photographic technique.

Download a PDF

Evidence - See Press Cuttings & Letters

John Neville Cohen is really an artist who uses photography.  Photographer’s record reality and the best do that really well, but John creates amazing fantasy from reality!  His beautiful pictures surprise, intrigue and make quite a statement!

The first time ‘The London Salon Trophy’, a much-coveted International award for artistic photography had ever been awarded for a colour photograph (printed from a Kodachrome transparency) was for 'Spirit of Spring’ in 1967. John was not only the youngest salon member ever to have received it, but it was also the very first time a transparency positive and a negative, appeared on the same film emulsion. Although technically extraordinary, it is more importantly a very fine work of art. 

Large limited edition prints, by John Neville Cohen, Spirit of Spring, Tulip, Woman, Orange, Green, Brown

Spirit of Spring


National Science and Media Museum Bradford, West Yorkshire BD1 1NQ  UK
NSMM Research Library Book database. Reference: 770.05.COH
Author: Cohen, John Neville
Title: Painting With Light By Projection Photography: Pure Photography Using Light & Film,
Description: Essay and references to the pioneering technique developed by John Neville Cohen, which enabled the creation of ‘Spirit of Spring’, the first ever Kodachrome transparency that had both a portrait and a negative image of a tulip, on the same emulsion.



Large limited edition prints, by John Neville Cohen, Beauty Is, Peacock feather, glamourous lady, John's wife.

Beauty is



John’s discovery was based on simply photographing projected images that were not always projected on to a screen and the chosen screen often became the subject of the picture; John has photographed projected images on to a feather, a flower, a shell, a butterfly wing, and even on to the edges of the pages of a book!



Large limited edition prints, by John Neville Cohen, Madam Butterfly, Butterfly wing, Profile portrait,

Madam Butterfly



'Preacher' by John Neville Cohen




He built up a collection of around 75 studies that led to over 20 One-Man Exhibitions of his photographs (some sponsored by Kodak) in New York, London, The Edinburgh Festival, and many other UK & USA Cities.  At Photo Expo (famous photographers were lucky to have 3 pictures included at 'Photo Expo 68') but a wall of over 60 pictures was devoted to John.

"..regarded as one of Britain's most original photographers"  The Times.

"A woman's face was exquisitely metamorphosed with the cup of a yellow tulip - a Femme - Fleur Picasso might have perpetrated had he taken to photography”  
Arts Revue. 

A number of newspaper and photographic magazine articles were published and his art even attracted the attention of such famous names as Cecil Beaton C.B.E., Sir William Russell Flint R.A., Sir George F. Pollock Bt., M.A., and Lady Clementine Spencer Churchill amongst many others. 

Evidence - See Press Cuttings & Letters

'Flower Maiden' by John Neville Cohen

Flower Maiden

'Sea Nymph's Mirror' by John Neville Cohen

Sea Nymph's Mirror

John has openly explained that he often starts with an idea and then experiments with various images, but sometimes something unforeseen happened, that sends him down a totally fresh route to create a very different picture than the one he originally planned, often it has been these ‘inspired accidents’ that have since turned out to be his most valued artworks. 

Recently a young art critic wrote "John N. Cohen's artwork incorporates several genres--ready-made objects, digital photography, and Impressionist style of light painting - to create a striking and surreal effect that has a strong impact upon the viewer”  
Claudia Moscovici.

"Indeed, since the photographic image is made by the action of light, truth to light is truth to the medium of photography! All John Cohen's photographs are made, simply and solely, by the use of light. His magic is the magic of the luminous; his poetry is that of the chiaroscuro. The attractions of his work is all the greater for the purity of the photographic technique, and its appeal all the more universal for being couched in an imagery common to all men and intelligible to all”.   
Sir George F. Pollock Bt., M.A., F.R.P.S., F.R.S.A. (Past President of The Royal Photography Society).

Kodak Exhibition Centre, Grand Central Station, New York.

Kodak Press Release Page 2

Kodak New York Press Release 1968

John started promoting his high-quality limited edition prints only since he retired and in a relatively short period of time, he has acquired quite a following on LinkedIn, Facebook, and at various other art sites on the Internet, like Flickr, where so many have chosen his pictures as 'favourites'.

"I love these, John. Can imagine them large scale in a white room - would look fantastic!"  Rachel Glittenberg Facebook

"Hi John, I am so pleased to have come across your page, your work is sensationally sophisticated and so softly intense, you have a unique personal talent for expressing visually moments of being and emotional journeys, sincerest congratulations on your excellent artistic technique, xx   you are such a talent John"  Monica Martinelli-Richmond Facebook

"Stunning image!  Your work is amazing!  Your work is extraordinary and very inspirational!"  emellin66 Flickr

"really beautiful and magical. love the composition."   
Galerie-Morgenstern Flickr

With so much success in the 1960’s one might well wonder why John is not by now far better known. There is a reason; John was involved in the family business, running an independent chain of specialist cinemas; he had become a director, having started as a projectionist, and was responsible for the ‘front of house’ publicity and he really enjoyed the business he was in. His photography in those days, even with all the success he had, was still simply his hobby!

Later with family commitments and so many more business demands, his photography was put aside. Although when the family business was sold, because of the impact of video and large rent increases, he set up and ran a commercial photographic and design studio. John also gave a number of lectures to various photographic societies, in the early days, explaining exactly how he achieved his results. His lectures were in great demand and he always had a good reception. Not only were most attending very enthusiastic, but even years later, hardly anyone has produced anything as interesting as his studies. John also made this information freely available on his website in his article titled 'The Magic Lantern'.

'Roller' by John Neville Cohen


John is now well over 80 and is still currently creating pictures (one of the latest is 'Roller').  His pictures certainly cause interest, adding a bright new dimension to any wall.  So sophisticated, always a talking point, appealing to all age groups. 

'Montmartre' by John Neville Cohen


One must not forget that John's reality photography is outstanding too (as can be seen in 'Montmartre') and some of these are also published as limited-edition prints.

For serious art buyers and art lovers there are still some of the prints for sale. To buy an artwork by John, it is still possible to purchase a print, although they are limited to only 8 of each picture.  Not yet one of the big names, but these pictures do have great investment potential and now is the best time for astute buyers to buy.
  "Art Galleries refer to me as a photographer, but photographers refer to me as an Artist!"
   John Neville Cohen.

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For Much More About John: -

John Neville Cohen’s web

Reviews and Exhibitions

Sir George Pollock Introduction

YouTube John talks about 'Painting with Light'




Interviews:  Artpromotive Feb 2012   Leap May 2012

Facebook Fan Page

Fine Art America

John Cohen’s websites: - 

Asian Antiques, Photography and Classic Cars

Antique Reference: Japanese Netsuke, Inro, Chinese Snuff Bottles, Pendants, Jade

History of Jacey Cinemas Ltd and Joseph Cohen

A Very Special Stamp Collecting Album

Classic Jensen Cars from the early 1960's

Painting with Light

Selling Limited Edition Prints

John Neville Cohen’s contact details


Return to the top of this page


Painting With Light

The Introduction
Sir George F. Pollock

Reviews, Awards &
Past Exhibitions

New Digital Pictures

Articles by John Neville Cohen

Colour Possibilities for Art Consultants and Interior Designers

Abstract Pictures

Slide Show


The Terms of Purchase

Contact John



Press Release Information

John's Art Links