John Cohen may be best known as a musician from the group The New Lost City Ramblers, but he is also a talented filmmaker and photographer. Cohen's participation in the Folk Revival in New York City placed him in a prime spot to witness and document the rise of the Beat poets, Pop Art, and the emergence of a young Bob Dylan as well as many other musicians. After the 1960s, Cohen continued to produce recordings of traditional American music, and he also focused on studying, recording, and filming both Appalachian and Peruvian music.
In addition to the many recordings Cohen has made for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, he has also had photographs published in The Library of Congress Folklife Annual portfolio as well as in a number of magazines, including the NY Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Time. In 2001, Cohen's photographs were published in a book titled There is No Eye: John Cohen's Photographs. This monograph was jointly released with the Smithsonian Folkways CD There is No Eye: Music for Photographs, which was comprised of recordings by musicians who had been photographed by Cohen.