Mary Ellen Mark
B. United States, 1940-2015
B. UNITED STATES1940-2015
Mary Ellen Mark is widely known for her ability to photograph those on the margins of society with compassion and intimacy. Born in Pennsylvania in 1940, Mark originally studied art and art history at the University of Pennsylvania, before returning to do a masters degree in Photojournalism in 1964. Mark went on to photograph internationally, including in countries such as Turkey, England, Germany, Greece, Italy and Spain, before settling in New York in 1966 where her practice became focused on the varied social and political life of the city’s inhabitants. Often spending years on projects, Mark’s practice was centred around developing relationships with and gaining the trust of her subjects, resulting in unique portraits which reflected her humanist approach to documentary photography.
Mark has had several major museum shows at institutions such as: The Museum of Contemporary Photography; The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and most recently, a posthumous retrospective at The National Museum of Women in The Arts. Mark published eighteen photo books in her lifetime, including Passport (1974) and Streetwise (1983). She has been decorated widely, earning a Guggenheim Fellowship (1994), a Hasselblad (1997), and an Outstanding Contribution to Photography award from the World Photography Organisation (2014). Mary Ellen Mark died in 2015.
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