The Photo Essay

Mary Ellen Mark, Photographer, Constance Sullivan, Editor, Mary Ellen Mark, Author Smithsonian Books $16.95 (64p) ISBN 978-1-56098-003-2
Mark ( Streetwise ) is one of the most popular and highly regarded documentary photographers working today. Her monograph contains, among others, photos of famine victims in Ethiopia, the white ruling-class of Zimbabwe after its government was ousted, and, probably her most famous series, prostitutes along Bombay's Falkland Road. In an interview that forms the book's text, she describes her working process and her commitment to the craft, especially to her subjects. ``I photograph people who are the victims of society, because I care about them,'' she says. Mark's pictures are impressive and shocking--in a word, they are art, though they also raise issues concerning exploitation of human misery. Asked whether she feels she is using her subjects, the photographer discusses the difficulty of knowing ``when you can and when you cannot take a picture.''p. 13 Mark's photographs emphasize the humanity of her subjects--``I immediately try to make a relationship with the people I'm photographing''--which renders her pictures all the more emotionally engaging to viewers. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 09/01/1990
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