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Tiny blowing a bubble, Seattle, 1983

Tiny blowing a bubble, Seattle, 1983

Mary Ellen Mark (1940- 2015) is one of the leading documentary photographers of the past half-century, and has achieved worldwide visibility through her many exhibitions, books, photo essays and portraits.


Mark traveled extensively since her first trip to Turkey on a Fulbright Scholarship in 1965. Her pictures of diverse people and cultures are groundbreaking images in the documentary field. Her essays on runaway children in Seattle, circuses and brothels in India, Catholic and Protestant women in Northern Ireland and patients in the maximum-security ward of Oregon State Mental Hospital demonstrate original and insightful ways of examining each theme. Her photographs are compassionate and factual.


Mark's photographs have appeared in The Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone and Vogue. Among her many books are Ward 81 (Simon & Schuster, 1979); Falkland Road (Knopf, 1981); Mary Ellen Mark: 25 Years (Bullfinch, 1991); Mary Ellen Mark: American Odyssey (Aperture, 1999); and, most recently, Mary Ellen Mark: The Book of Everything (Steidl, 2020). Mark earned three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Photographer of the Year Award from the Friends of Photography, the World Press Award for Outstanding Body of Work Throughout the Years, the Victor Hasselblad Cover Award and two Robert F. Kennedy Awards. She was the associate producer of the film American Heart (1992), directed by Martin Bell.