From the series "Tiny 90"
(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1940 - 2015, New York, New York)
1990 (printed 2004)
Selenium toned gelatin silver print
8 11/16 x 13 in. (22.1 x 33.0 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. Tiny has said that she does not know the identities of the fathers of La Shawndrea and Keanna Rose. She has also said that this has led to differences in relationships between her and her first five children, and the five children she has with her current husband, Will. “You know, I love all my kids the same. I don't have a favorite. But when it comes to the ones that I have by Will, I feel there's a little more attention because he, the father, is in their life with me. I didn't have a father for the other kids, and I was by myself. So I feel a little more ... satisfaction, I guess, with the littler kids because their father is there.” -Tiny (from a 2005 interview by Mary Ellen Mark, for Aperture Magazine)