In celebration of the life of award winning photographer, Mary Ellen Mark, we revisit some of her most thought provoking images.
After battling with myelodysplastic syndrome, a disease affecting bone marrow and blood, Mary Ellen Mark passed away at 75 in Manhattan yesterday. The photographer was famed for her street photography, depicting unconventional subjects in their surroundings, offering an otherwise unlikely insight into their lives. We can fortunately look forward to future publication of her work and expect “Tiny: Streetwise Revisited”, a further exploration of her 1980s “Streetwise” series to be released later this year.
Moving into fashion photography in the 90s, she created campaigns for Coach and Eileen Fisher, but it was her most immersive work that made her most notable. Living in mental hospital wards amongst patients, photographing heroin addicts, homeless teenagers, prostitutes and prom queens, she unveiled a side most had never seen before, that won her an Academy Award for best documentary in 1984 after she compiled her work into a film with her husband, Martin Bell.
We take a look at some of Mark’s best work, widely known and iconic yet still as engaging as ever.
“Rat” and Mike with a gun, Seattle, Washington, 1983
The Damm family in their car, Los Angeles, California, 1987
Amanda and her Cousin Amy, Valdese, North Carolina, 1990
Prom, 2010 (also documentary)
Batman with “Little Barbies”, New York City, 2002
Dennis Hopper, “Apoocolypse Now”, Pagsanjan, Philippines, 1979
Patrick Swayze at home, Lakeview California, 1995