“You cant be meek, you have to document!” – Mary Ellen Mark
This morning’s daily inspiration to share some images comes from Mary Ellen Mark.
Mary Ellen Mark has photographed an array of faces from Ansel Adams to Roseanne Barr. Her subjects in front of the camera include celebrities to everyday persons through her beautiful portrait documentary work.
Her portrait of “Tiny” featured in the Streetwise book, a exploration of life on the street for teenagers in Seattle who survived some rather difficult times is what caught my attention on an episode of the Reserve Channels “Capture™ Ep. 7 Full” w/ Mark Seliger
The thing that I really love about her work is the simplistic way she keeps the images true to life. Her images captures such a strong story from a simple stare to a gesture that you really get a sense of purpose through the images.
Its the kind of images I find most interesting rather than posed/staged portraiture work.
Watching the short documentary reminded me of a session I did a couple years back. A friend introduced me to her daughter who wanted some family photos and the one thing I hoped to do was document them in everyday life. So we agreed that we would shoot the images on their property, having them interacting normally with one another. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had photographing people. Everyone was relaxed and themselves. I left thinking how amazing they were together as a family and how much love they had for one another.
If I have learned anything from Ellen, its to capture the story conveying it through the images and letting each photograph stand on its own. This will definitely be the purpose and approach I use if given the opportunity again to photograph a session like the one above.