I just think it's important to be direct and honest with people about why you're photographing them and what you're doing. After all, you are taking some of their soul.

— Mary Ellen Mark

The most dreamy Mary Ellen Mark quotes that will be huge advantage for your personal development

Photograph the world as it is. Nothing's more interesting than reality.


I'm interested in reality, and I'm interested in survival.

I'm interested in people who aren't the lucky ones, who maybe have a tougher time surviving, and telling their story.


Reality is always extraordinary.


I was fascinated by my own prom pictures.


I’m just interested in people on the edges.

I feel an affinity for people who haven’t had the best breaks in society. What I want to do more than anything is acknowledge their existence.


One of my all-time favorite photographers is Irving Penn. I wish I could have watched him work.


A great photograph needs no explanation;

it functions by suggestion. There is no need to be explicit.


If you are interested in photography because you love it and are obsessed with it, you must be self-motivated, a perfectionist, and relentless.


In a portrait, you always leave part of yourself behind.


I wanted to travel from the beginning.

As a kid, I used to dream about airplanes, before I ever flew in one.


The obsessions we have are pretty much the same our whole lives.

Mine are people, the human condition, life.


I want my photographs not only to be real but to portray the essence of my subjects also. In order to do that, you have to be patient.


About Mary Ellen Mark

Quotes 41 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Photographer
Birthday October 16

Nowadays shots are created in post-production, on computers. It's not really photography.


I think the prom is very serious also.

It's an American ritual, it's a rite of passage, and it's very much a part of this country.


The difficulty with color is to go beyond the fact that it's color ? to have it be not just a colorful picture but really be a picture about something. It's difficult. So often color gets caught up in color, and it becomes merly decorative. Some photographers use it brilliantly to make visual statements combining color and content; otherwise it is empty.


Learning how to use different formats has made me a better photographer.

When I started working in medium format, it made me a better 35 mm photographer. When I started working in 4x5, it made me a better medium-format photographer.


I respect newspapers but the reality is that magazine "photojournalism" is finished. They want illustrations, Photoshopped pictures of movie stars.


I don't think you can develop or learn a way of seeing or a point of view.

A way of seeing is who you are, how you think and how you create images. It is something that is inside of you. It's how you look at the world.


The subject gives you the best idea of how to make a photograph.

So I just wait for something to happen.


I'm not against digital photography. It's great for newspapers. And there are photographers doing great work digitally. When they use Photoshop as a darkroom tool, that's fine, too. But at this point of my life, after so many years, I don't really want to change, and I still love film.


Everyone asks me how I get my subjects to open up to me.

There’s no formula to it. It’s just a matter of who you are and how you talk to people - of being yourself.


That's the way I learned photography: You make your picture in the camera.

Now, so much is made in the computer. ... I'm not anti-digital, I just think, for me, film works better.


I’m trying to please myself; certainly that’s a big criterion... though in a sense, I don’t take images just for myself. I take images that I think other people will want to see. I don’t take pictures to put in a box and hide them. I want as many people to see them as possible.


I go into every story thinking I'm going to fail.

I think about that all the time - I think it's going to be terrible. Every story is like the first I've ever done.


When I started out, it was considered very wrong to change an image.

There were scandals if someone inserted a sky into a war picture or something. Now it's all about that.


Im just interested in what makes a photograph.


When you're working on a film, it's almost like photographing paintings at a museum. You're photographing somebody else's world. I just try and interpret it and make it real, and make it what the actors are about, what the director is about, and what the film is about.


It’s not when you press the shutter, but why you press the shutter.


I work in colour sometimes, but I guess the images I most connect to, historically speaking, are in black and white. I see more in black and white - I like the abstraction of it.


A good print is really essential. I want to take strong documentary photographs that are as good technically as any of the best technical photographs, and as creative as any of the best fine-art photographs. [...] I don't want to just be a photo essayist; I'm more interested in single images...ones that I feel are good enough to stand on their own.


It's just a matter of who you are and how you talk to people.

Your subjects will trust you only if you're confident about what you're doing. It really bothers me when photographers first approach a subject without a camera, try to establish a personal relationship, and only then get out their cameras. It's deceptive. I think you should just show up with a camera, to make your intentions clear. People will either accept you or they won't.


There are some people who become best friends with everyone they photograph.

There are people that I really like and admire and respect, but in a way I think it's better to keep a distance. I think you get better pictures of people that you don't know very well.


Sometimes I work on film sets. I've done this for 40 years. I always wanted to photograph on the set of an Ingmar Bergman film. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity.


Finding the right subject is the hardest part.


Usually my ideas for work have revolved around my interest in people, especially people that live on the edges of society.


If I hadn't become a photographer, I would have loved to become a doctor.

I would have loved to have done something that actually helped people and changed their lives.


I think you have to have a real point of view that's your own.

You have to tell it your way. And, I think that it's a mistake to shoot for a specific magazine's point of view because it's never going to be as good. You have to shoot for yourself and photograph [ the way] you believe it.


I always wanted to photograph the universal subjects.


I'm a documentary photographer. That's what I've always wanted to be; that's where my heart and soul is.


No, I don't think you're ever an objective observer.

By making a frame you're being selective, then you edit the pictures you want published and you're being selective again. You develop a point of view that you want to express. You try to go into a situation with an open mind, but then you form an opinion, and you express it in your photographs.

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