Mary Ellen Mark
October 2009
Photograph by Mary Ellen Mark

Circus Acrobat Rehearsing, Bombay, India, 1974, modern print, Ed#4/75, gelatin silver print, signed in pencil on back of print, Ilxl4", $2000/3000.
Donated by the artist.

Mary Ellen Mark (b. 1940)
Mark's image of a young acrobat from her book Indian Circus (Chronicle 1993), encapsulates the dusty, strenuous existence of a circus performer. The acrobats are mostly teenage girls who have chosen a life of physical risk and dedication in lieu of the alternative for members of their class ‑ a life of prostitution and poverty.

One of the most respected documentary photographers in the world, Mary Ellen Marks' numerous photo‑essays and portraits have appeared n such magazines as The New Yorker, New York Times Magazine, Stern, Details and Rolling Stone. She has been the recipient of the Cornell Capa Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, ICP's Infinity Award for journalism, and three NEA fellowships. Mark has published fifteen books including Falkland Road (Knopf 1991, Steidel 2005), American Odyssey (Aperture 1999), and Behind the Scenes (Phaidor 2009).

CPW first exhibited Mary Ellen Mark's work in The World: Conflict & Caring curated by Martin Benjamin in 1986 and Photographers Who Make Films curated by Katherine Schlesinger in 1987. Her work graced the cover of PQ#32. Mary Ellen Mark has been leading workshops at CPW since 1990.