Mary Ellen Mark has brought to her work on movie sets the same exceptional sensitivity and uncanny ability to show the humanity of her subjects that she has shown in her photo essays. Never one to avoid the difficult subject or situation, her work tackles actors and directors with her photo journalist’s eye, always direct and uncompromising.
Hired by the foremost directors of our time, and given access to the most distinguished actors on the screen, her work provides insight into the personalities and life on the sets. Truffaut, Bunuel, Fellini, Coppola, Tim Burton, Brando, Nicholson, Deneuve, Hoffman, Depp, and Blanchett are some of the subjects she has captured in unguarded moments and in her always arresting compositions. The films include classics from Apocalypse Now, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest to Moulin Rouge, Babel, and Sweeney Todd, among many others.
Mary Ellen Mark is one of the most prominent documentary photographers of our day. Her photographs provide an unflinching look into the lives of the poor, the sick, and the destitute of our society, always with extraordinary sympathy and regard for her subjects. Her honors and awards are numerous. They include the Cornell Capa Award by the International Center of Photography in 2001. She has also received the Infinity Award for Journalism, an Erna & Victor Hasselblad Foundation Grant, and a Walter Annenberg Grant. Her work has been shown in exhibitions world- wide and her sixteen books include Falkland Road, Ward 81, Streetwise, Indian Circus, Portraits, Twins, and Exposure. Her work appears in many publications including the New Yorker and Vanity Fair.