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Mary Ellen Mark: American Odyssey (Aperture Monograph) [Hardcover]

Maya Angelou , Mary Ellen Mark
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Oct 1999 Aperture Monograph
Mary Ellen Mark's award-winning work continues the American tradition of social documentary, focusing on such problems as homelessness, suffering, prostitution and the lifestyle of specific communities.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Aperture (Oct 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0893818801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0893818807
  • Product Dimensions: 32.1 x 28 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,358,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Charles Hagen is a photographer and writer. An art critc for The New York Times from 1991 to 1996, he is currently Professor of Photography and Video at the University of Connecticut --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Respecting the Humanity of All 13 July 2004
By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Summary: These black-and-white images are produced on wonderful paper and with great quality. They explore the underlying human qualities we all share. The work is introduced by a Maya Angelou poem, and is concluded by an excellent essay in which Ms. Mark explains her work. Her subjects are mostly people of the economic and social underclasses as they pursue their hopes and dreams, while dealing with their day-to-day problems. Viewing these photographs will draw you closer to people who, on the surface, are quite different from you. The models are often captured over time and in alternative settings to help explain their lives and personalities.
Content Caution: The images in this book contain a few involving minor female nudity that would earn its contents an R rating if it were a motion picture.
Review:
"I note the obvious differences
in the human family."
" . . . but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike." -- Maya Angelou
The theme of this poem nicely captures the focus of this book of loving photographic images. Too often, we mentally pass by those around us. Ms. Mark's images make us want to reach out with our hearts and minds.
The book shows people from all parts of America over the period from 1963 through 1999. The photographs portray all kinds of races, creeds, colors, and political and sexual persuasions. Ideas that you may not like are portrayed involving people you will probably find appealing. That juxtaposition of people and issues will cause you to rethink how you relate to others. It will probably make you more modest and humble, and that's good. Special themes involve the mentally ill, twins, homelessness, beauty contests, political rallies, and families over time.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning. 17 Feb 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book contains some unforgettable photographs. However,in my mind, one stands out above all the others. Jesse Damm; a white boy about ten years old is depicted in profile wearing a torn sweat shirt. His head is shaved and not even his eyebrows are visible. His face has several small scabs or perhaps it is dirt and he does not look well. In deed what he looks like is something out of a horror film. What is so remarkable about this shot is that it fills me with the strongest urge to gather the child up into my arms and take care of him. Remarkable because I've never wanted anything to do with poor or sick people and untill now the only children capable of stirring my emotions have been the attractive ones. This photo made me wonder if perhaps I've discovered something new in myself.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Glimpse at the Soul 10 Jun 2001
By Timothy Haugh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I was fortunate enough to see the exhibition of these photographs at the International Center of Photography a few days ago. If you can, go to see the show before it closes. If you can't, buy this book and get a glimpse at the power of a photograph.
Though no expert, I enjoy the art of photography. I am particularly interested in portraits of real people. Mary Ellen Mark has the ability to capture people with extra-ordinary depth and feeling. Almost without fail, her images are moving. With a skill beyond the normal artist, however, her images have the ability to be thought-provoking.
Consider a photo labelled "Aryan Nations, Hayden Lake, Idaho, 1986." Three pleasant-looking, smiling women--the cherubic face of the woman on the far right particularly draws the eye--set in counterpoint to their white supremacist garb. Or consider the series of photographs of Tiny who has clearly experienced many things in her life but who face, amazingly, holds the same soul in each image. Or consider the contrast between the photographs of Julie d'Aquili and Cynthia Galves despite their similar poses. Julie is a healthy young woman but her somber expression stands out starkly against the cancer-ridden Cynthia who still manages a smile.
I believe that I could write something about every single photograph in this collection. Let me instead just say that these photographs will grip you and hold your attention for hours. You will come back to them again and again. And, unlike reproductions of paintings in a book, photographs do not suffer from the process nearly as much. I would encourage anyone with an interest in photography to take a look at this book.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Respecting the Humanity of All 28 Jun 2001
By Donald Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Summary: These black-and-white images are produced on wonderful paper and with great quality. They explore the underlying human qualities we all share. The work is introduced by a Maya Angelou poem, and is concluded by an excellent essay in which Ms. Mark explains her work. Her subjects are mostly people of the economic and social underclasses as they pursue their hopes and dreams, while dealing with their day-to-day problems. Viewing these photographs will draw you closer to people who, on the surface, are quite different from you. The models are often captured over time and in alternative settings to help explain their lives and personalities.
Content Caution: The images in this book contain a few involving minor female nudity that would earn its contents an R rating if it were a motion picture.
Review:
"I note the obvious differences
in the human family."
" . . . but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike." -- Maya Angelou
The theme of this poem nicely captures the focus of this book of loving photographic images. As Ms. Mark says, "I much prefer to photograph people I care about." She wants to "build a rapport with my subjects." In studying them, "I am guided by what moves and surprises me." That final element will affect you as well. Too often, we mentally pass by those around us. Ms. Mark's images make us want to reach out with our hearts and minds.
The book shows people from all parts of America over the period from 1963 through 1999. The photographs portray all kinds of races, creeds, colors, and political and sexual persuasions. Ideas that you may not like are portrayed involving people you will probably find appealing. That juxtaposition of people and issues will cause you to rethink how you relate to others. It will probably make you more modest and humble, and that's good. Special themes involve the mentally ill, twins, homelessness, beauty contests, political rallies, and families over time.
My favorite images in the book are as follows:
Santa Claus at Lunch, New York City, 1963;
Marky Mark concert, Jersey City, New Jersey, 1993;
Hot Tub, West Orange, New Jersey, 1999;
Bodybuilder, Daytona Beach, Florida, 1991;
Russell, Kansas, 1986;
Mary Frances in the tub, Ward 81, Salem, Oregon, 1976;
Jail, Houston, Texas, 1977;
Husband and wife, Harland County, Kentucky, 1971;
Jesse Damm, Llano, California, 1994;
Hurstie Laxton after the flood, St. Louis, Missouri, 1993;
Million Youth March, New York City, 1998;
Lakiesha, South Dallas, Texas, 1988;
Clinton Albright and his father, Santa Clarita, California, 1982;
Nightclub off of Highway 61, Michigan, 1991;
Vashira and Tashira Hargrove, twins, H.E.L.P. Shelter, Suffolk, New York, 1993; and
Tiny, pregnant, Seattle, Washington, 1985.
After you see these photographs, you will probably agree with Ms. Mark that she has been on "a long and blessed journey" that has opened her heart and ours.
Seeing these photographs should encourage you to become acquainted with people you see who you would normally not think to speak to. Try living that way for a day. If you enjoy the experience, keep on going -- taking it . . . one day at a time.
Find the common ground . . . wherever you go!
5.0 out of 5 stars A great career spanning collection of works. 12 May 2013
By Filipe N. Marques - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Most books I have purchased in the past have usually been a disappointment. A collection of less impressive work. Not this one. Mary Ellen Mark doesn't publish mediocre work. I've had the book 24 hours and I've looked at it 4 times! Very inspiring stuff if you enjoy photo journalistic photography. I recommend it highly!
6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fat acceptance 4 Jan 2001
By Philip Greenspun - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
One image is worth the price: four women, floating in a swimming pool, arms and legs linked, at the national Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, Big and Beautiful New Year's Eve Party, Long Island, New York, 1996.
(Great book for Hasselblad nerds; it will give you a lot of ideas for how to fill a square frame creatively.)
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