Mary Ellen Mark

U.S. photographer Mary Ellen Mark has won international renown for her photo essays and portraits, especially the humanism that she brings to her work. Her images have become landmarks in documentary photography, and she has received many awards, including 1994 honors from the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and Dr. Erich Salomon Awards. Along with appearing in influential publications, her photographs have been exhibited around the world. A Cry for Help is the most recent of her 11 books.

The EOS-1N combines the best lenses with an accurate and very, very fast autofocus and exposure system. The camera is light, easy to handle, and the motor is quiet. The great advantage is that it allows me to catch images I would otherwise miss.

Each photographer can choose the settings that suit his or her way of working ‑ that is what is so great about the Canon system. I use the center focus and hold down the shutter button for framing. When I am working in ambient light, I might not use the Manual setting. Instead, I use Aperture Priority because I like to control my f‑stop and I want to know the limits of my depth of field. I also use aperture priority when I am working with a strobe, especially if I am mixing it with ambient light.

The little girl in this portrait is the granddaughter of a motor rickshaw driver whom I have known for years. I had photographed the old man 20 years earlier on the Maharajah's personal train, which we were once again using as a location for an advertising campaign I was shooting. While I was photographing the girl, he stepped into the frame. The lesson is to keep your mind free and to be open to anything that might happen.

EF 28mm f/1.8 USM, 1/125 sec., f/8