Legendary photographer Mary Ellen Mark passed away on Monday at the age of 75. Known for her intimate approach to portraiture, Mark captured subjects from a vast array of backgrounds. NPR called her "a brilliant and fearless artist," adding: "Mark's highly celebrated work is sad, spectacular, desperate, disturbing and so much who we are."
At the root of Mark's work was a compassionate perspective, which allowed her to gain a level of intimacy with her subjects, whether they be members of the Ku Klux Klan, prom dates, inmates, or homeless teenagers. This approach made many of her photographs shocking and hard to look at but always essential.
Mark said, “I don’t want to feel that I’m missing out on experiencing as much as I can. For me, experiencing is knowing people all over the world and being able to photograph.” She definitely lived a full life on these terms. One of the most influential documentary photographers of the past 50 years, Mary Ellen Mark leaves a legacy that will inspire well beyond her time.