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A sweeping survey of Mary Ellen Mark’s most recognizable series, enhanced with original archival material.
The images of American photographer Mary Ellen Mark are icons of documentary and humanistic photography. Focusing her camera on the socially disadvantaged and those on the fringes of society, she told the stories of her protagonists without prejudice. In the context of the emerging women’s movement in the USA during the 1960s and 70s, and as a freelance photographer at a time when print media was suffering its first major crisis, Mark fought her way to the forefront of female voices in photojournalism. Encounters provides an expansive cross-section of the photographer’s full body of work. The book focuses on five iconic series that contributed significantly to Mark’s reputation: Ward 81 in which she photographed residents at an Oregon psychiatric hospital for women; a reportage on prostitutes on Falkland Road in Mumbai; a tribute to Mother Teresa’s charitable work; Indian Circus, documenting traveling circus families; and the long-term project Streetwise, in which Mark followed the life of Erin Blackwell (Tiny) for more than 30 years. For the first time, this book contextualizes these works within Mark’s oeuvre and presents them alongside original magazine spreads and archival material?including contact sheets, letters and notebooks?to reveal the breadth of her accomplishments and singularly compassionate eye.
Mary Ellen Mark (1940-2015) received her Master’s degree in photojournalism from the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. In the late 1960s she relocated to New York City, documenting counterculture movements and societal outsiders. Over the course of her lifetime she published 18 photo books and frequently contributed to Life, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and other publications.
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