May 27, 2015

Mary Ellen Mark had a long association with the International Center of Photography. Since ICP’s founding, Mary Ellen was a friend to this institution and was recognized as an extraordinary talent and a remarkable practitioner in the field of photography.

ICP produced two exhibitions of Mary Ellen’s work including the 1991 exhibition Mary Ellen Mark - 25 Years and in 2001, Mary Ellen Mark: An American Odyssey.  In addition to having her images well represented in our collection, Mary Ellen was a long-time faculty member who taught workshops, master critiques and travel programs in Mexico. She was also an active mentor to ICP School students and staff over the decades and lectured at ICP whenever a new body of work was produced.

In 1997, Mark was a recipient of an ICP Infinity Award in Photojournalism and chosen for the Cornell Capa Award in 2001. She joined the first ICP Spotlights program as a respected member of celebrated, women documentary photographers and led a fascinating afternoon conversation about the role of women in the field.

Photographer Mary Ellen Mark teaches a master class with ICP students at her NYC studio in 2012.
Photographer Mary Ellen Mark teaches a master class with ICP students at her NYC studio in 2012.

Mary Ellen Mark was a force in photography and the ICP community at large, offering her strong opinions about the state of photography and her astute observations on the contemporary activity within the field. She graced our faculty and inspired students. 

A model of dedication, curiosity, imagination, professionalism and stamina, Mary Ellen Mark embodied all of which is necessary to thrive as an artist in the modern world. What separated her from the deep talent pool of contemporary photographers was her unique ability to pursue editorial and commercial assignments without losing sight of her personal work. 

Mark was an outstanding exemplar of what it means to build a simple project into a complex visual narrative and her work never failed to engage the viewer evidencing a world that would otherwise go unseen or unnoticed.

She will be missed by all us, yet we know that her spirit will live on in her many books and countless photographic works. View Mary Ellen Mark's work in the ICP Collections.

TOP IMAGE: © Michel Auer, Gift of Michel Auer, 1988
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