Mary Ellen Mark is an American photojournalist who found an interest in photography at the age of nine with a Box Brownie camera. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting and art history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1962 and a Masters Degree in Photojournalism in 1964.
She became a unit photographer on movie sets, shooting on sets of more than 100 movies.
“Her photography has addressed such social issues as homelessness, loneliness, drug addiction, and prostitution. She has described her approach to her subjects: ‘I’ve always felt that children and teenagers are not ‘children,’ they’re small people. I look at them as little people and I either like them or I don’t like them. I also have an obsession with mental illness. And strange people who are outside the borders of society.’ Mark has also said, ‘I’d rather pull up things from another culture that are universal, that we can all relate to….There are prostitutes all over the world. I try to show their way of life…'”