Lynne Cohen attended Slade School of Art of the University College, London (1964-1965), and Ox-Bow Summer School of Painting in Saugatuck, Michigan (1964-1965), then went on to receive a Bachelor of Science in Fine Arts and Art Education at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (1967). She earned an Master of Arts in Fine Art (1968) from Eastern Michigan University, and also studied at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1968).
Lynne Cohen lived and worked in Canada beginning in 1973, initially in Ottawa, and in Montreal from 2005 until 2014. She taught at several institutions, primarily Eastern Michigan University (1968-1973), Algonquin College (1973-1975), and the University of Ottawa (1974-2005).
Lynne Cohen was known for her photographs of empty institutional interiors: living rooms, public halls, retirement homes, laboratories, offices, showrooms, shooting ranges, factories, spas, and military installations. Despite this interest in living and working spaces, Cohen's photographs are usually devoid of human presence. She photographed using an 8 x 10" view camera, allowing her to capture great detail, and create very large prints beginning in the mid-eighties. Her work has been published in catalogues such as Occupied Territory (1987) and No Man's Land (2001). In one of her last monographs, Cohen described a major goal in her work, a "long-standing preoccupation with formal, intellectual and ideological camouflage."
Lynne Cohen died of lung cancer at the age of 69 on May 12, 2014, in the palliative care unit at McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. In accordance with her personal wishes, no funeral service was held.