(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1940 - 2015, New York, New York)
From the series "Streetwise"
1983 (printed 2004)
Selenium toned gelatin silver print
8 11/16 x 12 15/16 in. (22.1 x 32.8 cm)
Collection of the Akron Art Museum
Knight Purchase Fund for Photographic Media
In 1983, Mary Ellen Mark was sent by LIFE magazine to photograph street kids in Seattle. There, she met thirteen-year-old prostitute Erin “Tiny” Blackwell. Tiny became one of the central subjects not only of Mark’s photographs, but also of the documentary film Streetwise which followed in 1984. Mark has unflinchingly documented Tiny’s life for nearly three decades, illustrating her struggles with poverty, substance abuse, and abusive partners and family, but also capturing moments of joy and intimacy. “I want a baby. But not by a new trick, though.” –Tiny (from the transcript of the 1984 documentary film Streetwise, by Martin Bell) Tiny clutches her dog, displaying an obvious maternal instinct. In 1983, Tiny said that she would like, ideally, to have ten children. Her first five, Daylon, La Shawndrea, Keanna Rose, Mikka, and Rayshon, are all by different fathers, two of whom are unknown. She also has five children by her current husband, Will.