Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 13.09.35 Mary Allen Mark
Image via maryellenmark.com

Mary Ellen Mark was born in Philadelphia, and began her passion for photography at the tender age of nine. In the mid-sixties she moved to New York City. It was here she first started to photograph subjects which were on the periphery of society. In New York she captured the opposition to the Vietnam War, women's liberation and the sexual revolution. She turned her lens to those less favoured by mainstream culture such as the homeless, drug addicts and prostitutes.

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 13.09.44 Pike Street Area
Seattle, Washington, 1983
300E-002-18A
Image via maryallenmark.com

Her most acclaimed works are Streetwise and Ward 81. In 1975, Mary Ellen Mark photographed the Oregon State Hospital, a mental institution, as part of a magazine project on One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 13.10.33 Ward 81, Oregon State Hospital,
Salem, Oregon, 1976
300B-001-022
Image via maryallenmark.com

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 13.10.25 Ward 81, Oregon State Hospital,
Salem, Oregon, 1976
300B-015-024
Image via maryallenmark.com

In 1983, she photographed the homeless youth of Seattle, which became the photographic essay Streetwise. Her director husband Martin Bell created a movie based on his wife's Streetwise photographs. The movie was was nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary feature in 1985.

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 13.10.00 Tiny
Seattle, Washington, 1983
300E-013-004
Image via maryallenmark.com

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 13.10.18 Patti, Pike Street Area
Seattle, Washington, 1983
300E-015-36A
Image via maryallenmark.com

Mark's work has been exhibited in solo shows at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and New York's International Center of Photography as well as in collections across the United States.

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