The world of photography has suffered a great loss with the passing of U.S. photojournalist Mary Ellen Mark at 75 years of age.
Although mostly known for her journalism, she also shot portraiture, advertising, and was a unit photographer on movie sets, which is how I came across her work through stills for Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now.
Her style of work was often quoted as “away from mainstream society and toward its more interesting, often troubled fringes.”
Mary Ellen Mark’s photography has been exhibited at galleries and museums worldwide. She has had 18 collections of her work published, including Indian Circus, Twins, and Streetwise.
She won a Lifetime Achievement in Photography from the George Eastman House, Outstanding Contribution Photography Award from the World Photography Organisation, and the list over the years goes on and on…
In this Criterion Collection feature clip, she talks about her days of being the unit photographer for film sets, and what it was like for her to photograph Federico Fellini shooting his film Satyricon in 1969.
It’s a real treat to hear her talk about her working style. She comes across as so humble and perceptive. I think a good photo-journalist needs to be invisible, but also needs to have patience and the willingness to understand the subject they shoot. She had all of these qualities.
Mary Ellen Mark shows Fellini like no other photographer has captured him before.
Here are some photos she took on the set of Satyricon.
The world is sorry to see you go, Mary Ellen Mark.