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Don and Dave Wolf © Mary Ellen Mark, Ohio, 2001
Mary Ellen Mark
I think photography is closest to writing, not painting. It’s closest to writing because you are using this machine to convey an idea. The image shouldn’t need a caption; it should already convey an idea.
– Mary Ellen Mark
Mary Ellen Mark, (1940 – 2015) is an American photojournalist whose compelling empathetic images, mostly in black and white, document the lives of marginalized people in the United States and other countries.
Mark graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in painting and art history, and in 1964 she earned a master’s degree in photojournalism from the same institution. In 1974 she published her first book, Passport, a selection of her photographs taken from 1963 to 1973.
Mark began one of her best-known projects in 1976. For two months she lived in a high-security women’s ward at the Oregon State Hospital in order to capture on film the moods and ongoing anxieties of mentally ill women confined to a locked ward. The resulting images, published in Ward 81 (1979), illustrate Mark’s attempts to record the human condition with both compassion and objectivity.
Mark traveled repeatedly to India. On her first trip, in 1968, and then again in 1980 and 1981, she photographed the prostitutes of Bombay (now Mumbai) and the work of Mother Teresa and her associates. Mark immersed herself in the lives of her subjects, both to earn their trust and to gain a fuller understanding of them as individuals; that knowledge informed her photographs. Three books resulted from her work in India: Falkland Road: Prostitutes of Bombay (1981; in colour), Photographs of Mother Teresa’s Missions of Charity in Calcutta, India (1985), and Indian Circus (1993).
In 1983 Mark completed an award-winning photo-essay for Life magazine documenting the lives of runaway children on the streets of Seattle, Washington. She later returned to Seattle to work on Streetwise (1984), a powerful documentary film about the dispossessed people she had photographed; it won a prize at the Sundance Film Festival and an Academy Award nomination for best documentary. She presented portraits of homeless residents of New York City in the book A Cry for Help: Stories of Homelessness and Hope (1996).
Mark’s work appeared in such magazines as Time, Vanity Fair, Paris Match, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and Stern. She received numerous honours, including a Guggenheim fellowship (1994) and three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (1977, 1980, 1990). She earned the Infinity Award for photojournalism (1997) and the Cornell Capa Award (2001), both from the International Center of Photography, the Lifetime Achievement in Photography Award from the George Eastman House (2014), and the Outstanding Contribution to Photography Award from the World Photography Organization (2014).
Ethiopia Project | David Goldman
David Goldman is an American photographer. A 1998 graduate of the University of Rhode Island with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in Spanish, Goldman’s first job was as a staff photographer at the weekly North County Independent newspaper, in Rhode Island.
Kuda et Sky II | Nick Brandt, Kenya 2020
Nick Brandt (born 1964) is an English photographer. The themes in Nick Brandt’s photographic series always relate to the destructive impact that humankind is having on both the natural world and now humans themselves too.
Untitled Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt Photography
Michel Vanden Eeckhoudt (1947-2015) was a Belgian photographer. He co-founded Agence VU’ with Christian Caujolle in 1986. He is represented by the Gallery Camera Obscura in Paris. Belonging to the tradition of reportage and the “decisive moment”, his works have been widely published. His personal works include Belgian competitions and Immigrants in his country.
Untitled | Jean-Marie Donat
Jean-Marie Donat (born in 1962) lives and works in Paris where he runs the independent creative editorial agency AllRight. For over 35 years he has been gathering a vast photographic collection of vernacular photographs focused on delivering a singular reading of the 20th century.
Acts of Appearance | Gauri Gill, 2015
Gauri Gill (born 1970) is an Indian photographer who lives in New Delhi. Gill earned a BFA (Applied Art) from the College of Art, New Delhi; BFA (Photography) from Parsons School of Design/The New School, New York and MFA (Art) from Stanford University, California.
Cuba by Raúl Cañibano
Raúl Cañibano Ercilla is based in Havana. He was born in 1961. One of the younger generation of photographers born after the Revolution, his work focuses on people, everyday life, history and socialism. He has exhibited world-wide and won a major prize in Cuba for a project on the life of rural workers.