Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mary Ellen Mark, Lillie with Her Rag Doll

Mary Ellen MarkLillie with Her Rag Doll, Seattle, 1983
22.6 x 34 cm (8 7/8 x 13 3/8 in.)
Gelatin silver print
Mary Ellen Mark currently lives in New York City, but was born in Philadelphia in 1940. Mark gained notability as a female artist who focused on documentary photography by capturing the world's diverse cultures. She spent many years in India photographing Mother Teresa, circuses and brothels in Mumbai and gained worldwide recognition. Afterwards in 1983 she did a photo essay for LIFE based on runaway children in Seattle. Later her work in Seattle become the basis of a film called Streetwise, and was nominated for an Academy Award. Mark contributes to The New Yorker and has published in LIFE, New York Magazine, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair. More than anything else Mark's images are known for human experience and social environment by conveying human reality and truth. 

 Mark's photographic series of homeless children in Seattle are shocking, entertaining and real. Seattle was seen as a clean and ideal American city. Her photos, on the other hand uncovered the reality of the city and the social problem that is everywhere in America. The photo selected shows a girl who is acting tough by smoking a cigarette, however she is holding a rag doll with her other hand. I selected the photograph because its a powerful image that shoes reality. The girl is smoking which makes her seem older, but the doll in her hand lets the audience know that she is just a child. Mark shot in black and white because the image was meant to have a feeling of no hope, and of being abandoned. She is alone and homeless and the image forces people to realize what is occurring and the problems others are facing.
Mary Ellen Bio and Resume. 2011
National Museum of Women on the Arts. Role Models: Feminine Identity in Contemporary American Photography.Scala Publishers Limited: United Kingdom. 2008.

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