Women's Month opens with a significant showcase encompassing various experiences of girlhood through the photography of Mary Ellen Mark in Girlhood at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C., starting 3 March.
The exhibition features about 30 photographs that span the American photographer's career, including her photographs in Turkey which Mark described as "the beginning of my life's photographic journey", photos of the different experiences of young women in various situations worldwide. Known for her candid yet empathic approach to the marginalized, Mark was a photographer that did extensive work on the ever-diverse society of the United States, India, Mexico, the former Soviet Union, and others. While her interest spanned from people of all ages and experiences, she was particular in photographing children.
NMWA director Susan Fisher Sterling emphasized Mark's importance to American photography history and her social impact: "Through her camera lens, Mark cut through social and societal barriers to focus on overlooked communities in the United States and around the world. Her portraits document individual lives with a familiarity that makes them universally relatable."
The photographs came from the donation of the Photography Buyers Syndicate to the NMWA. Aamong the selection includes some of Marks' earliest work and her famous ones such as "Prom", "Streetwise" and "Twins", all three depicting Mark's documentary on girlhood.
Some of her photographs to be anticipated in the exhibition are Emine Dressed Up for Republic Day, Trabzon, Turkey (1965), Laurie in the Bathtub, Ward 81, Oregon State Hospital, Salem, Oregon (1976) and J'Lisa Looks Through the Blinds, Streetwise Revisited (2014), all of which were taken through Mark's observant and carefully-timed approach.
The exhibition will end on 11 July. For more information about the show, visit the National Museum of Women in the Arts.