The photographs in The Times Magazine by Mary Ellen Mark ("The Unflinching Eye: Photojournalist Mary Ellen Mark," by Vicki Goldberg, July 12) touched me deeply and made an unforgettable impact. The story about her work gave not only a rare glimpse of someone who is an extraordinary artist, an expert with the mechanics of her camera, but also of a very caring human being who is able to care for her subjects. Her pictures make us take notice that life is not pretty for many and educate us about human conditions we otherwise might not know about.
New Milford, Conn.
In Vicki Goldberg's article, she describes Diane Arbus's photography as being filled with a "profound and contagious malice." This strikes me as a most fallacious characterization of the late Arbus's work. Vicki Goldberg seems to have made the elementary critical error of condemning the messenger for the message which she brought. Exposing a dark side and becoming one with it remain actions with entirely different moral consequences. Certainly, one who takes on the mantle of critic should be capable of such a distinction.
Mary Ellen Mark is not unlike a poet, dedicated to revealing and portraying the beauty and complexity of people in their infinite variety. In my work with children, I hope to incorporate photography as a tool for creative writing. When I do, Mark will be right there in the classroom with me.
New York, NY
I enjoyed reading "The Unflinching Eye" and "A Father's Pictures" (About Men, by Dean Pitchford, July 12). We live in an age of autoload, autofocus and autoflash cameras where everyone considers himself a photographer. Our profession is much more than taking pictures. We create images that excite, stimulate and move the viewer. We are masters of composition, light and color and have the ability to bring out the personality and spirit of those whom we portray. It is nice to see appreciation for the eye and soul of the professional photographer ‑ one who includes a bit of himself/ herself in every photograph.
Owner, Images by Ryan Photography
New Rochelle, N.Y.