Lesson 2: Assignment

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    With my background in art deciding my most inspirational artist or photographer has proven to be a difficult question as there are so many inspiring artists. After much thought and consideration I would have to say Mary Ellen Mark. She began in art and eventually moved to photography and photo journalism. I find that she captures an eerie beauty in sometimes the most horrific scenes. I feel she capture not only the emotion of the surroundings but also the true emotion of her subject. All of her photo journalism work is, if nothing else thought provoking. Although her shots may walk a fine line of controversial shots, they speak the truth in an oddly beautiful way. I love how her photo journalist work makes my want to think deeper, find out the story behind the shot or even create a story of my own.
    [attachment=0:303o8lpt]mary ellen mark.jpg[/attachment:303o8lpt]

    One particular picture that inspired me would have to be “Monkey Trainers Daughter”. Not only do I find it an amazing shot, I like all the emotions and thoughts that come to me when looking at this picture. What I first saw in this shot, before knowing the title, was destruction by man and that the ones that are affected most by mans mistakes are the most innocent, the most peaceful and the most nurturing. Although I do find that other photos of hers may be better in a technical aspect, this is the one that always makes me give a second look and think about how much there is in this world that I have yet to know or may never see, and how different the world really is.

    Her photo journalist work of different cultures from around the world depicts things that not everyone wants to see but everyone should be aware of. I believe her images have a strong sense of reality in a surreal way. Each photo is unique to her style, from her amazing black and white to color, each one is unique to her.

    Photography for me is a way of expressing myself, to remember a certain emotion from a specific time, to see beyond what’s in front of you. Sometimes freezing time allows you to see beyond what happened in the moment. I love that you can see a story without knowing a story and Mary Ellen Mark does just that.

    Mary as a person is also inspiring, not just her work. She shows the world the things that are ignored, the harder side of life regardless of the danger she may be in. She uses her talents to better the world with charity, and just with giving knowledge about things that most people will never see.
    Although I may never have the opportunity at photo journalism, Mary Ellen Mark’s style as well as concepts inspire me to have meaning behind my shots, to see beauty when beauty is hard to find and to be confident in my own style.

    There’s a reason I never became a writer 😕 But non the less she inspires me.

    Duncan Rawlinson

    I’m a terrible writer so I know how you feel!

    Any chance you want to add a name/website/blog to your signature? It’s always easier to track a students’ progress when I can put a name to the post! 😉

    Regarding your piece I’m very glad that you’ve spent some time thinking about what inspires you. This is a very well thought out and lucid piece. You’ve done very well!

    Sometimes it’s demoralizing to look at the work of the masters of photography. You get to look at their best images from the entire life in a few minutes… I often find it inspiring though and it makes me clearer about why I love photography and why I want to continue shooting.

    Everyone wants to be Ansel Adams, or in your case Mary Ellen Mark!

    If you can take away anything from looking at her work and the work of the best photographers it’s that they all worked extremely hard over long periods of time.

    Here are a couple of my favorite images of hers:



    We can all work harder and shoot more to improve!

    Btw, If you haven’t see it, she was on Charlie Rose you can watch it and learn more about her here:

    Onto the next assignment for you!!

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