How often does this world encounter indifferent, and truly feeling for others people? In combination with her incomparable sense of beautifulness, Mary Ellen Mark professionally conveys feelings, concerns and hopes of other, not so fortunate persons through the art of photography. This paper is about to reassure the deserved greatness of one of the most talented photographers ever and explain why she is considered the one.
Born in March, 20, 1940 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mary Ellen Mark early shaped her interests and marked art as the major direction of her life. Mary had always been an exemplary student and was encouraged with numerous scholarships to enhance her photographic skills as well as spread her vision on different items. In the years 1968 – 69 Mary had gotten her first assignments granted by “Look’s” editor Pat Carbine. One of them played a crucial role in photographer’s realization on whom to be the “target audience” of her pictures. Particularly, Mary Ellen spent all her working time to mold thorough outlook on the newly introduced methadone program, elaborated to help heroin addicted people. The feelings she had embraced for all those people, as follows, influenced upcoming subjects of her works of art, as she continues to illustrate homeless, lonely, drugs addicted, and prostituted people till now.
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Photographic works of Mary Ellen Mark are so popular and successful due to the ridiculous and hard to believe attitude of their creator. What is meant is a number of journeys aimed at lightening sufferings of socially deprived or/and locked in tough situations people. Her 1979 stay with the inmates of a maximum-security women’s mental hospital resulted in the heartrending Ward 81, while in Falkland Road she exposed the severe daily life of a Bombay brothel. Other subjects have included British working-class junkies, Indian circus performers, the Aryan Nations, and a poor black family’s Halloween celebration in the South Bronx (Lafreniere). For this reason, fairly enough, the photographer is considered one of the main individuals to contribute into the photography art it is today. Her black and white approach has never left anyone’s empathy still, making each her picture extremely appealing and story-telling for viewers.
Living in New York, Mary Ellen Mark is happily married to Martin Bell, a film director she has shared her passion with. Although Mary has never looked at herself as a commercial photographer, she has multiple ways to distribute her works. Namely, these are through books, journals, and of course, exhibitions. An extensive number of awards the photographer won make her works rather expensive. Editioned exhibition prints start at $3,000 while 20×24 Polaroid prints available starting at $15,000 (marryellenmark.com). But the prices are justified via all the uniqueness of the Mark’s vision and innovativeness of her “talking pictures” pitch.
As for me, after glancing at several of Mary Ellen Mark’s works, I could not help but amaze by the quality of layout as well as by straightforward messages sent by these compositions. In addition, I can surely proclaim that they are the most touching photos I have ever seen, as what you want to do when reviewing them is to land a hand to those, who truly require it. Hopefully, with the help of the art of Mary Ellen Mark, feeling for the heroes of her photo stories will one day turn into action, and we will all become better.
- Lafreniere,S. Mary Ellen Mark, (2009). Retrieved from http://www.vice.com/read/mary-ellen-mark-144-v15n7
- Mary Ellen Mark Biography, (2011). WordPress blog. Retrived from http://deerphotojournalistfri.wordpress.com/about/
- Gallery. Mary Ellen Mark official website, at http://www.maryellenmark.com/gallery/gallery.html