It’s hard to believe that one of the finest and most notable female photographers of Americas’ photographic history has passed away. Mary Ellen Mark had established herself and defined her enigmatic style of photojournalism, documentary photography, and portraiture and advertising photographic prowess.
She had remarkable resilience and her work shows us great depth to her as a human being, her photographs documenting the world in which women live, stories ranging from Ward 81 a woman’s ward in an asylum, girl prostitutes in Bombay, Tiny (a lifelong project), a homeless child/woman, Mother Theresa, high school Proms, even the Indian circuses, all talk about life and death in our world.
The works have spanned over a collection of books and many exhibitions showcasing her incredible photographic perspective of the world. Admittedly I had not really looked at the works until viewing a film entitled ‘Everybody Street’ produced by Lucy Cooper and directed by Cheryl Dunn.
I was in awe of her then, and still am to this day, it is saddening to hear of her passing. However, I feel my life is greatly enriched for her being born and pursuing the art of photography, her works will continue to inspire many to come who will choose a similar path and pursue a career as wonderful and magical as hers.
Her accolades include the Cornell Capa Award by the International Center of Photography, the Infinity Award forJournalism, an Erna & Victor Hasselblad Foundation Grant, and a Walter Annenberg Grant. Among her other awards are the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the Matrix Award for outstanding woman in the field of film/photography, and the Dr. Erich Salomon Award for outstanding merits in the field of journalistic photography.
Mary Ellen Mark, was also presented with honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees from her Alma Mater, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of the Arts; 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; two Robert F. Kennedy Awards; and the Creative Arts Award Citation for Photography at Brandeis University.
Outstanding contribution to the field of photography and film, and I am sure thousands of tributes will be pouring out to highlight such a marvelous career.
Rest in Peace Mary Ellen Mark, you will be sadly missed.