Alumi voices the deluxe edition: Alumi- Writers, Artists, And Others-Recall Their Days At PENN
I Had Found My Future.
Written by Mary Ellen Mark FA'62 ASC'64 HON'94
I always wanted to attend the University of Pennsylvania. I remember the day that my acceptance letter arrived. I was overwhelmed. My time at the University was extremely positive, although the first few years I definitely spent too much time partying and probably missed a lot in the classroom. By my senior year, I started to be a more serious person. I studied painting and art history, but always felt that being a painter was too isolating, so when I found photography through the Annenberg School for Communication, my life totally changed. I had found my future.
Some of my first real assignments were for the Gazette. Dusty Rhodes, who was then the editor, gave me several assignments. This was a wonderful learning process that helped prepare me for when I started to work for national magazines. The picture of the Class of 1911 alumnus was one of my first published pictures. To this day, I like the picture and wonder if the old alumni at Penn still have such character. James Fry Strong certainly had an amazing look. The other photograph was taken some years later, in 1973, when I did a story on how Penn had changed. I don't remember taking this particular picture and I wonder what I was thinking at the time. Now, when I look at it I can read many things into it.
Without Penn and the Annenberg School, I would not have had the amazing life that I live as a photographer. I would not have met all those very special people, both famous and not famous, that have allowed me to photograph them. I am extremely grateful to the University for the great opportunities it gave me.
Mary Ellen Mark’s photography has won numerous awards and has been exhibited worldwide. Her work has appeared in dozens of magazines and in 12 books. A new book, Twins, is due out in Fall 2003.