“It’s not when you press the shutter, but why you press the shutter.”
The photography world lost a giant on May 25th of this year, when Mary Ellen Mark passed away. Born in 1940, she lived for 75 years on this planet and carved out a legacy that is nothing short of awe-inspiring. The staggering amount of work she produced is impressive, but her legacy is not defined by the volume of her output. Couple the quantity with the quality of her images, and you have a model of consistency in photography. But even more impressive is who she shot and the passion she put into her craft.
The work of Mary Ellen Mark
Mark’s incredible career has been discussed in memorials and remembrances worldwide. And that’s because Mary Ellen Mark worked and touched people globally. Touched the lives of her subjects, and touched the lives of us, the viewers. She did this primarily with her photojournalism and documentary photography. She documented the lives of people that were on the fringe of society. Homeless teenagers, prostitutes, autistic children and mental patients, to name a few. Mark portrayed her subjects compassionately. Humanely. She earned their trust and did not betray it. This is easily seen in her photographs. Her work was gritty, real and emotional.