About Me

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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
"To take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart. It's a way of life." ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Photographer Profile ~ Mary Ellen Mark

Mary Ellen Mark (born 1940) is an American photographer known for her photojournalism, portraiture, and advertising photography. She has had 16 collections of her work published and has been exhibited at galleries and museums worldwide. She has received numerous accolades, including three Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards and three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Mary Ellen Mark was born in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,  and began photographing with a Box Brownie camera at age nine. She attended Cheltenham High School, where she was head cheerleader and exhibited a knack for painting and drawing. She received a BFA degree in painting and art history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1962, and a Masters Degree in photojournalism from that university's Annenberg School for Communication in 1964. The following year, Mark received a Fulbright Scholarship to photograph in Turkey for a year.  While there, she also traveled to photograph England, Germany, Greece, Italy, and Spain.

In 1966 or 1967, she moved to New York City, where over the next several years she photographed Vietnam War demonstrations, the women's liberation movement, transvestite culture, and Times Square, developing a sensibility, according to one writer, "away from mainstream society and toward its more interesting, often troubled fringes". As Mark explained in 1987, "I'm just interested in people on the edges. I feel an affinity for people who haven't had the best breaks in society. What I want to do more than anything is acknowledge their existence".

Her shooting style ranges from a 2 ¼ inch format, 35 mm, and 4x5 inch view camera. She also uses a Leica 4 for most photographs and Nikons for long-range shooting. Mark loves shooting with a Hasselblad for square format and she shoots primarily in black-and-white, using classic Kodak Tri-X film.

Mark became a unit photographer on movie sets, shooting production stills for films includingFrancis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now. For Look magazine, she photographed Federico Fellini shooting his film Satyricon (1969). Mark has since photographed on the sets of more than 100 movies. Mark is well known for establishing strong relationships with her subjects, as she has spoken about after her experiences in the Home for the Dying in Calcutta, and her project "Street Kids" for LIFE Magazine, which developed into the movie Streetwise.

Mark has contributed to publications including the magazines Life, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, and Vanity Fair and has published over 16 books. Mark's photographs have been exhibited worldwide [via wiki]

Ram Prakash Singh with His Elephant Shyama.Great Golden Circus, Ahmedabad, 1990

Marlon Brando fascinated by a dragonfly, Apocalypse Now, Pagsanjan, Philippines, 1976

Dennis Hopper

Federico Fellini

The cast of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest posing for their picture on location at the Oregon State Hospital, Salem, Oregon 1974
Mary Ellen Mark, Actor Sean Penn in his dressing room (1983), Manhattan, New York

Giuseppe Rotunno with Federico Fellini who pretends to sleep on the set of Fellini's Satyricon, Rome, Italy 1969

Catherine Deneuve
Marlon Brando & Jack Nicholson on the set of The Missouri Breaks,Billings, Montana 1975

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp with Helena Bonham Carter rehearse on the set of Sweeney Todd,Pinewood Studios, England 2007
Henry Miller and Twinka,Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, 1975

Marlon Brando on set for Apocalypse Now

"I think you have to have a real point of view that's your own. You have to tell it your way. And, I think that it's a mistake to shoot for a specific magazine's point of view because it's never going to be as good. You have to shoot for yourself and photograph [ the way] you believe it." 
Mary Ellen Mark

 Dustin Hoffman
Director Francis Ford Coppola shelters himself from the driving rain that added to the troubles of an already beleaguered shoot for Apocalypse Now, 1979

Readying the horses for the next take, Fellini's Satyricon, Rome, Italy, 1969

Johnny Depp on the set of Sleepy Hollow, England, 1999

 Johnny Depp on the set of Sleepy Hollow, Shepperton Studios, England, 1999
Alejandro González Iñárritu directing Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt, Babel, village near Ouarzazate, Morocco, 2005

 Diane Lane and Francis Ford Coppola discuss the next scene on the set of Rumble Fish, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1982

 Michael Clark Duncan and Richard Zanuck, Planet of the Apes, Los Angeles, California, 2000

 Jessica Lange and Dustin Hoffman pose for a picture, Tootsie, Hurley, New York 1982

 Tim Burton with a severed head prop, Sleepy Hollow, Shepperton Studios, England, 1999

 Martin Sheen and Dennis Hopper rehearsing on the set of Apocalypse Now, Pagsanjan, Philippines, 1976 

 On the set of The Day of the Locust, Los Angeles, California 1974
 Nicole Kidman on the set of Australia, Kununurra, Australia, 2007

 Robert Downey, Jr. with his son Indio, Fur, Steiner Studios, Brooklyn, New York, 2005

Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson together on the beach, Night Moves, Sanibel Island, Florida, 1973

 A stunt elephant, Honky Tonk Freeway, Sarasota, Florida, 1980

Jack Nicholson, Candice Bergen, Art Garfunkel "French kissing". Carnal Knowledge, Vancouver, BC, Canada 1970

Dennis Hopper
 Woody Allen on his balcony, Manhattan, NY, 1979

 Benicio Del Toro practices smoking a cigar on the set of The Argentine, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2007

 James Cagney on the set of Ragtime, London, 1981

John Belushi portrait, Blues Brothers, Chicago, Illinois, 1979
Pro-Vietnam Demonstration, NY 1968

Laurie on Pike Street.Seattle, Washington, 1983 (left), Heroin Addict on the Toilet,London, England, 1969 (right).

Jeanette Alejandro Looking Out Her Window in Brooklyn, 1978

"There is only one reason I’ve stayed a photographer for so many years. Photography is always challenging."
~Mary Ellen Mark

Rat and Mike with a Gun,Seattle, Washington, USA, 1983
Gypsy Camp, Barcelona, Spain 1987

 "I think you reveal yourself by what you choose to photograph, but I prefer photographs that tell more about the subject.  There's nothing much interesting about me; what’s interesting is the person I'm photographing, and that’s what I try to show….”
Mary Ellen Mark

Boy with his Pet Cockatoo, Great Golden Circus, Ahmedabad, India, 1989

The Man Who Loved His Tree, Uttar Pradesh, India, 1989

Jennifer, Tiffany, and Carrie,Portsmouth, Ohio, 1989

"Finding the right subject is the hardest part. "
Mary Ellen Mark 

Mona in Bed With Photo, Oregon State Hospital, Salem, 1976

Tiny, Halloween, Seattle, Washington, 1983

Sue Gallo Baugher et Faye Gallo,Twinsburg, Ohio, 1998 (left), Street Child,Trabzon, Turkey, 1965 (right)







Portrait of Mary Ellen Mark