The story of the girl in Mary Ellen Mark’s iconic photo


Amanda and her Cousin Amy: Mary Ellen Mark photographed Amanda Marie Ellison, 9 (right), and Amy Minton Velasquez, 8, in Valdese, North Carolina, in 1990.

(Courtesy of Mary Ellen Mark Studio and Library)

A good photograph can speak volumes about its subjects, yet still leave you wanting to know more.

The acclaimed and prolific American photographer Mary Ellen Mark, who died May 25 at the age of 75, was known for her humanist portraits: homeless children in Seattle, prostitutes in India, a family living out of its car. In 1990, she took one of her most memorable shots, titled Amanda and her cousin Amy.

“This photograph raises a lot of questions and leaves me with a slightly uneasy feeling,” says Jeff Jacobson, a New York photographer and a friend of Mark’s. “That, I feel, over and over again is the hallmark of her best work.”

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A new angle on oceanic imagery


Australian photographer Ray Collins first picked up a camera in 2007 and used it to photograph his friends surfing around his coastal home after long shifts working in a nearby coalmine.

His attention quickly shifted from his friends to patterns and forms he noticed in the waves. Collins, who is colourblind, was also drawn to the interplay of light and water, perhaps more attuned to contrast than the nuance of color.

He poetically refers to this switch from coalminer to fine art photographer as a balance between his “black life and blue life”.

Here’s some more of Ray’s striking oceanic imagery for your viewing pleasure:

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