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20th Century Photographers by George Schaub, Grace Schaub

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21Mary Ellen Mark

Photographer’s Forum, July 1990

Mary Ellen Mark (b. 1940) is one of the world’s leading documentary photographers. Her photographs reflect her compassion for and deep understanding of her subjects, the disenfranchised and those living on the fringes of society. The camera becomes an important tool in her hands. In her photo essay “Ward 81,” she calls attention to the plight of the mentally ill through her moving and heartfelt portraits of female inmates imprisoned at the Oregon State Mental Hospital. With her highly regarded book Streetwise, and the documentary film of the same name, Mark delves into the personal lives of Seattle’s teenage runaways and street kids with whom she spent hundreds of hours and has developed lasting ...

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