Mary Ellen Mark

Tiny on a bench, Seattle

From the series "Streetwise"

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

1983 (printed 2004)

Selenium toned gelatin silver print

8 3/4 x 12 15/16 in. (22.4 x 32.8 cm)

Collection of the Akron Art Museum

Gift of the artist


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. Tiny during the filming of Streetwise, age 14. “I feel old. And worn out. Thirty-five’s hitting forty, when you’re halfway dead. Over the hill. If I didn’t have this many kids, I’d probably feel young… I don’t really have anything to do with downtown anymore. That’s just not my life. It’s all about here now, being at home with my husband and kids. I have no ties to that anymore.” -Tiny (from a 2005 interview by Mary Ellen Mark, for Aperture Magazine)

Social Class
Black and White
Contemporary Art