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Tiny and her mother, Pat, Seattle

Mary Ellen Mark

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

1993 (printed 2004)

Selenium toned gelatin silver print

18 1/2 in. x 12 7/16 in. (46.99 cm x 31.59 cm)

Knight Purchase Fund for Photographic Media

2004.32

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 don't know if my mom loves me. I don't care. She has her life, I have my life. When I was younger, it mattered, but now it doesn't bother me if she doesn't love me.” -Tiny (from a 2005 interview by Mary Ellen Mark, for Aperture Magazine)

Keywords
American
Black and White
Contemporary Art
Couple
Female
Mother
Photography
Poverty
Social Class