Mary Ellen Mark

(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1940 - 2015, New York, New York)

Tiny and Keanna Rose in bed, Seattle

From the series "Tiny 90"

1990 (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


More Information

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 did drugs until I was six months pregnant with Keanna. Then I got clean, went into treatment, found a place to live. And one night - Keanna was about seven months old - I go out to a club, and pick up some drunk guy... we go back to my house, and ... that's when it started all over again... So I went out drinking one night, and passed out on the side of the road. Luckily, this guy was with me, and he had Keanna in his arms. She could have been hit by a car, or anything! So of course, the state took her.” -Tiny (from a 2005 interview by Mary Ellen Mark, for Aperture Magazine)

Social Class
Contemporary Art
Parental Love
Black and White