Mary Ellen Mark goes behind the scenes

Fresh from her appearance in front of the camera on TV's Work of Art, we bring you a closer look at the American photographer's work behind the lens
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Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Sleepy Hollow (1999)

1 / 18 Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Sleepy Hollow (1999)

2 / 18 Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Sleepy Hollow (1999)

3 / 18 Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Sleepy Hollow (1999)

4 / 18 Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Apocalypse Now (1979)

5 / 18 Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Apocalypse Now (1979)

Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Apocalypse Now (1979)

6 / 18 Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Apocalypse Now (1979)

Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Ragtime (1982)

7 / 18 Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Ragtime (1982)

Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Honky Tonk Freeway (1981)

8 / 18 Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Honky Tonk Freeway (1981)

Mary Ellen Mark, Actor Sean Penn in his dressing room (1983), Manhattan, New York

9 / 18 Mary Ellen Mark, Actor Sean Penn in his dressing room (1983), Manhattan, New York

Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) (l) and The Fortune (1975) (r)

10 / 18 Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) (l) and The Fortune (1975) (r)

Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of The Day of the Locust (1975)

11 / 18 Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of The Day of the Locust (1975)

Mary Ellen Mark, Director Woody Allen on his balcony (1979), Manhattan, New York

12 / 18 Mary Ellen Mark, Director Woody Allen on his balcony (1979), Manhattan, New York

Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Australia (2007)

13 / 18 Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Australia (2007)

Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Australia (2007)

14 / 18 Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Australia (2007)

Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Babel (2006)

15 / 18 Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Babel (2006)

Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus (2006)

16 / 18 Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus (2006)

Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of The Argentine (2008)

17 / 18 Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of The Argentine (2008)

Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Planet of the Apes (2001)

18 / 18 Mary Ellen Mark, on the set of Planet of the Apes (2001)


If you've been watching the second season of Work of Art: The Next Great Artist - the TV show which challenges contestants to make an original artwork each week for a $100,000 prize - then you'll know that photographer Mary Ellen Mark was a guest judge in the first episode, appearing alongside New York gallery owner Bill Powers, New York magazine's Jerry Saltz and mentor to the contestants, art auctioneer Simon de Pury.

Mary Ellen Mark's photographs of Bombay brothels, shot in the late 1970s, were published in 1981 in Falkland Road, a book that confirmed her status as one of the most prominent and provocative documentary photographers working at the time.

Mark's pictures depict humanity in its most diverse and eccentric forms and her unique ability to capture gestures and expressions effectively translates the intense emotions of her subjects. In the 1980s and 1990s she photographed and published books on a range of subjects, including homeless teens in Seattle, a holiday camp for children with cancer in California and a study of Mother Teresa. More recently she trained her lens on twins in America for a Phaidon book, Exposure.

We thought we'd take this opportunity to bring you a closer look at her behind the scenes of Hollywood photographs. Since 1968, she's worked on over a 100 film sets including such legendary productions as Apocalypse Now, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Gandhi, as well as recent Oscar-winning productions such as Moulin Rouge, Babel and Sweeney Todd. The photographs, which feature in Seen Behind the Scene, saw Mark given pretty much unprecedented access to the various actors and sets, and she was permitted to roam freely - sometimes for weeks at a time.

The results are both dramatic and occasionally poignant: Milos Forman giving direction on a New Jersey beach on the set of Ragtime, Jack Nicholson and Dustin Hoffman fooling around together, Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt rehearsing intently on the set of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Babel in Morocco, and Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci pictured on the set of Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow.  As a record of the 'hurry up and wait' element of film making, it's just about unparalled.


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