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Famous Photographers - Mary Ellen Mark

Mary Ellen Mark: Exposure
Mary Ellen Mark: Exposure

Famous Photographers >> Mary Ellen Mark

Mary Ellen Mark (b. Philadelphia 1940) is an American photographer, known for her arresting images, the content of which is mainly between social photojournalism and portraiture.

She began photographing with a Box Brownie camera at age nine, and studied photography at the University of Pennsylvania in 1963. She turned professional as a freelance in the mid 1960s. In her long career she has tackled many of the most difficult social issues of her time; including homelessness, loneliness, drug addiction and prostitution. She works almost exclusively in black and white. She has contributed to many publications, including LIFE magazine, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair. She currently works in her studio in New York, and is under contract to The New Yorker.

She has had three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, won the Robert Kennedy Journalism Award, undertaken a Guggenheim Fellowship, and been awarded five honorary doctorates. She was a member of the Magnum Photos photography agency from 1977-1982.

She maintains that the technical aspects (as well as the social aspects) of her work are very important - as she said in an interview: "A good print is really essential. I want to take strong documentary photographs that are as good technically as any of the best technical photographs, and as creative as any of the best fine-art photographs. (...) I don't want to just be a photo essayist; I'm more interested in single images.... ones that I feel are good enough to stand on their own".

" Mark’s pictures are a celebration of humanity in its most diverse and eccentric forms. Circuses, gypsy camps, children yearning for adulthood, the poor and destitute are some of her recurring themes. Mark has the unique ability to capture gestures and expressions that translate the intense emotions of her subjects. Compassionate but never literal, her pictures can be humorous, tragic, enigmatic, shocking, and oftentimes all of these simultaneously." Description from Mark's book Exposure.

Further Information

Recommended Reading

Mary Ellen Mark: Exposure Twins Mary Ellen Mark : American Odyssey
Mary Ellen Mark: Exposure Twins Mary Ellen Mark:
American Odyssey

On the Web

Mary Ellen Mark Photographs

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It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mary Ellen Mark".