In Memoriam: Mary Ellen Mark

“I’m interested in people who aren’t the lucky ones, who maybe have a tougher time surviving, and telling their story.”
– Mary Ellen Mark

Iconic analog photographer, Mary Ellen Mark, passed away this Monday, May 25, 2015, after battling cancer for several months. She died at the age of 75.

With a career spanning over 40 years of image making, Mary Ellen Mark had accumulated several notable awards including the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award. Her work often documented her access to exquisite subjects ranging from celebrities like Dennis Hopper and Meryl Streep, to her six week stay among female patients in a mental ward, to the lives of Bombay women working in a brothel, and even documented the liveliest circus acts found in India.

Loyal to her work to the very end, Mark had completed her 19th book with Aperture, which is set to release this coming October. The book focuses on one of Mark’s beloved subjects, Tiny, a young prostitute from Seattle who was one of several runaway children featured in Mark’s 1988 book, Streetwise. Mark was also reported by Time Magazine to have finalized the finishing touches on a project in time for this year’s 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Tiny, Seattle, Washington, 1983.

The empathy Mark possessed as a human, and photographer, always poured in and out of her work. Mark was known to be loyal to her craft and subjects. “Once she embraced a person, that person became a part of her life,” recalls New Yorker visuals editor, Elisabeth Biondi.

Acrobat Sleeping, Famous Circus, Calcutta, India, 1989.
Clayton Moore, the former Lone Ranger, sitting on couch, Los Angeles, California 1992.
Amanda, right, and her cousin Amy in Valdese, North Carolina, 1990.

www.maryellenmark.com/

Streetwise Revisited releases October, 2015.

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