Mary Ellen Mark
[Photographer, b. 1940, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, d. 2015, New York.]

 I don’t expect to change the world with my photographs, I just want to make pictures that have substance. 
 It’s important for me to be honest. The men, women, and children I photograph are straightforward with me. I have to respect them for what they are… What I look for is compassion, not pity. 
 I think you reveal yourself by what you choose to photograph, but I prefer photographs that tell more about the subject. There’s nothing much interesting to tell about me; what’s interesting is the person I’m photographing, and that’s what I try to show... . I think each photographer has a point of view and a way of looking at the world... that has to do with your subject matter and how you choose to present it. What’s interesting is letting people tell you about themselves in the picture. 
 I would die if I had to be confined. I don’t want to feel that I’m missing out on experiencing as much as I can. For me, experiencing is knowing people all over the world and being able to photograph. 
 The difficulty with color is to go beyond the fact that it’s color—to have it be not just a colorful picture but really be a picture about something. It’s difficult. So often color gets caught up in color, and it becomes merely decorative. Some photographers use [it] brilliantly to make visual statements combining color and content; otherwise it is empty. 
 I don’t crop my photographs. I consider the entire frame while I’m shooting. It’s a discipline I learned when I began to photograph. 
 I belong to a bygone era when magazines sent you out to do a thorough report. It was a more traditional kind of photography reflecting a world that didn’t want images of it to be perfect. We don’t look at the truth anymore; instead, we look at whatever reassures us. 
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