ESQUIRE
LIVES FROM OFF CENTER
September 1991

Mary Ellen Mark's images have a way of reaching up out of the frame to peel back your rose‑colored contacts. From portraits of heroin addicts to mental patients to street kids, her photographs dare you to blink, to look away from the rawness and vulnerability of lives spent on the fringe. This month Mary Ellen Mark: 25 Years will be published, and two exhibitions in New York will accompany the book: a retrospective of her work at the International Center of Photography Midtown, and a smaller series at Castelli Graphics, documenting Indian circus performers. Like the American big top before it, the Indian circus is fast disappearing. These pictures, among her most recent, were shot over six months, leaving the photographer overwhelmed by the "purity and innocence" of the performers. Proof that even after a quarter century, Mary Ellen Mark has not lost hers.


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Mary Ellen Mark


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Acrobats rehearsing (1989)


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Star of the dog act (1989)

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