Mary Ellen Mark: An Inspiration To Many

Mary Ellen Mark lives.

She is still examining between the lines of what we see and what we understand. The subjects of her portraits, her students, the people whose eyes she deeply sought and whose lives she intricately examined, know she is not gone. How could she possibly be far from our reach for influence?

Her voice lives on. Her love of the less seen and forgotten souls lives on. Her catch of nuance and unveiled thinking still moves us.

I will miss talking with her, yes. Seeing her braids. Hearing the jangling of her bracelets. Feeling the swish of air that arises from her swirling skirts when she walks by. Looking at her hands.

But she lives. She’s here. Her belief in humanity and resulting photographic images command a riveting attention like no other. How she moves us.

Maybe I finally will listen to her words of advice more so now since she won’t have to repeat those sentiments as often as she had to in the past. Sorrow blankets my heart. I can hear her voice, magnified.

No, Mary Ellen has not left us. She has only just begun to fill the world around us, and will do so for our future generations.

She just caught the light.


Mary Ellen Mark

Mary Ellen Mark

Mary Ellen Mark

Mary Ellen Mark

Mary Ellen Mark

Mary Ellen Mark


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To hear my radio interview on Oregon Public Broadcasting:  Remembering Mary Ellen Mark


April: Portland Photo Month

There are several events related to photography taking place during Portland Photo Month in April. Check the Portland Photo Month website for the latest listings.

A few highlights:

THEN. NOW. HERE.  BAM! Images of Portland, curated by Raymond Meeks, will be projected onto buildings around Portland during the month of April. Check the link for times and locations.

Photo Picnic!  Bring your nibbles, your favorite sip and a special blankie. We will be showing Mary Ellen Mark’s newly released book, Prom, and screening the Prom documentary film, co-produced with her husband and filmmaker, Martin Bell.

Thursday, April 26  8-10pm   Location is at my studio.

Door: $5-10 sliding scale payable to Photolucida.  Floor space is highly limited, so send us an email to reserve your spot.

GET IN THE VAN! I will be teaching street photography workshops in various locations and with different co-instructors I admire. First up: the uber-talented Leah Nash! Check the classes link on my website to view current workshop listings.

(Photo by Mary Ellen Mark, from her new series “Prom”)

Mary Ellen Mark

It was a great honor to be able to spend time with Mary Ellen Mark in Portland this past month. She was an early influence on my approach to subjects, and I am in awe of the depth she establishes with the people she photographs.

(Chris Rauschenberg, Mary Ellen Mark, Me)

(Mary Ellen Mark with staff at Pro Photo Supply)

Mary Ellen Mark Workshop

Just coming off of a highly energetic, information filled weekend hosting Mary Ellen Mark’s workshop in my studio.  It was an absolute delight running around Portland with her, hosting a really fun dinner party, seeing her new Prom film at her lecture, eating late night dinners and having her class use our home as a base while street shooting on Sunday.

The participants’ work was nothing short of outstanding.  Truly was.

And she even scored a new camera and light meter at Pro Photo Supply!

I am missing you already, Mary Ellen.  And I look forward to working with you again very soon.

Outsider Art Project

A few years ago, I asked a painter, Margie Smeller, who has Downs’ Syndrome, to paint one of my photos of Torina.



I then had the idea of asking her to paint several other commercial photographer’s images.  This resulted in a show that paired her paintings with each photographer’s photographs.  The pairings sold, and proceeds went to Margie as well as to three charities.

A link to that show is here.

When I visited Mary Ellen Mark last month, she was struck by Margie’s talent.  She asked if Margie would paint two of her images.  Here is a pairing of one of Mary Ellen’s images:



This is Margie, and her website is here.


A Visit With Mary Ellen Mark

I am still floating over a delightful one-on-one session I just had with Mary Ellen Mark in NYC.  Her work has influenced me for many, many years, and I have the highest admiration regarding how she photographs people.  During our time together, instead of fear or intimidation, I felt an instant bond with her. On Sunday, the day before I left, I received a call from her asking me to have lunch.  We laughed about many things, and only talked about photography for a portion of the time.

I now have a few assignments.  And I will return again soon.

I can already feel a great shift in my approach.  My sincerest gratitude, Mary Ellen.





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