1. Vad betyder fotografi för dig?
It´s what I do and who I am, I can´t imagine having a life without it.
- När och hur kom du på att du ville bli fotograf?
I´ve always been interested in photography! But I started photographing in my early 20’s when I was in graduate school at the Annenberg School for Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. Previously, I had studied painting at the University of Pennsylvania as an undergraduate.
- Beskriv kort din bakgrund, hur ju utbildat dig och var du jobbat.
After I graduated from the Annenberg School I got a Fulbright Scholarship to photograph in Turkey for a year. When that was over, I moved to New York and I’ve been a photographer ever since.
- Hur arbetar du med fotografi idag?
Not much has changed. I still do a lot of street photography in New York where I live, and I take different assignments for magazines and some commercial work. I also photograph on film sets. I was just in Taiwan taking photographs on an Ang Lee film ”The Life of Pi.” That was a wonderful experience. I’ve also photographed on several of Tim Burton’s sets which is also an amazing experience. I teach workshops and lecture around the world. I’ve been teaching my workshop in Oaxaca, Mexico for eighteen years. We recently make a book of 15 years of my students work. Oaxaca is a beautiful city and very close to my heart. It’s a wonderful workshop.
- Vad använder du dig av för teknik?
I´m an analog photographer and I will be analog until the day I die. I have many analog cameras, I just love the whole process. Analog is a completely different medium than digital. I think digital photography is great for newspaper photographers because you don’t have to bring a lot of equipment and you can send back your images immediately—especially in situations of war. But I´m not a war photographer or newspaper photographer so digital is not a real advantage to me. Also, I think Photoshop is a very useful tool as long as you use it as a darkroom, but it worries me when it’s used to change the truth.
- Vilka andra fotografer inspirerar dig?
Many photographers inspire me. Irving Penn is one of my favourite photographers, I love his pictures because they are so elegant. I also love Kertesz, Margaret Bourke White, Marion Post Wolcott, Brassai, Ansel Adams’ unknown portraits, Robert Frank, Anders Petersen, Graciela Iturbide, Ragnar Axellson, Henri Cartier Bresson, Lisette Model, and many more.
- Berätta lite om ditt senaste projekt.
I´ve been working on the ”Prom” project with my husband for a few years. We traveled around the country photographing prom. I made portraits with the 20×24 camera and Martin made a film. The book and DVD will be out in spring 2012. I really love working with Martin.
- Och vad blir nästa utmaning?
I have a few ideas… but I don’t want to talk about it until I’m more clear about what I want to do. The most important thing for me has been to get the Prom project completed and published since we worked on it for so many years.
- Hinner du vara ledig ibland? Vad gör du då?
I’m always working. When I’m not shooting there’s always a lot to do in my studio. I´m lucky because I have fantastic people there who help me. I also love to shop. I collect folk are, and my weakness is fashion! I bought a lot of clogs in Sweden, I love them.
- Är utmärkelser viktiga?
Sure, they’re very encouraging and flattering. And grants give you an opportunity to finance your personal project. But what´s really important is just to continue photographing. I’ve always believed that you´re only as good as the next project you do.
- Vad skulle du göra om du inte var fotograf tror du?
Something that involves people, of course. It would have been nice to go into medicine but I was never good enough at math or science…
Maybe I would have been a filmmaker, but it´s so much more complicated and difficult than still photography. I can’t imagine being anything else but a photographer.
- Framtidsdrömmar och mål?
It would be nice if I could find the perfect way to fund all my future projects. So that I could realize all the projects that I would like to do.
Mary Ellen Mark.