In Mongolia, transgender people face extreme violence and discrimination, much of which goes unreported because the law does not protect them. Out of fear, many stay in the closet. Photographer Álvaro Laiz spent three and a half months in 2011 photographing male-to-female transgender people in Mongolia to explore notions of identity in a place where they are forced to hide who they are. “They cannot express themselves normally except in certain places. Your life becomes a scenario in which you are pretending to be someone else. Your job, your relatives become part of this performance, and little space is left to act as you would really want to be. It is insane.


Mary Ellen Mark 1940 - 2015

Mary Ellen Mark, whose unflinching yet compassionate depictions of prostitutes in Mumbai, homeless teenagers in Seattle and mental patients in a state institution in Oregon made her one of the premier documentary photographers of her generation, died on Monday in Manhattan. She was 75.

The cause was myelodysplastic syndrome, a disease affecting bone marrow and blood, said Julia Bezgin, her studio manager.

Ms. Mark began her career with magazines like Look and Life, taking a classic documentary approach to often difficult material and usually working in black and white. Early on, she showed a remarkable ability to win the confidence of her subjects, and she maintained contact with many of them through the years.

Her latest book, “Tiny: Streetwise Revisited,” for example, returns to the main character in the book “Streetwise,” one of several homeless Seattle youths she photographed in the early 1980s. The book is set to be published by Aperture in the fall.

In the 1990s, Ms. Mark made the transition to fashion photography and portraiture, with ad campaigns for clients like Coach, Eileen Fisher and Heineken. At the same time she continued her documentary work, photographing high school proms, autistic children and families in homeless shelters.

“She was a great storyteller,” said Melissa Harris, the editor in chief of the Aperture Foundation, who edited several of Ms. Mark’s books. “She got to know the subjects she photographed very well, and she was able to convey who they were and how they lived, as well as a sense of their interior lives. There are not that many photographers who can do that.”

Mary Ellen Mark was born on March 20, 1940, in Philadelphia, and grew up nearby in Elkins Park. She had two main ambitions in high school, shetold The New York Times Magazine in 1987: to become the head cheerleader and to be popular with boys. She succeeded at both.

She studied at the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in painting and art history in 1962 and a master’s degree in photojournalism in 1964. She was particularly interested in the work of documentarians like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank and Dorothea Lange.

“I remember the first time I went out on the street to shoot pictures,” she told the magazine Communication Arts in 1997. “I was in downtown Philadelphia and I just took a walk and started making contact with people and photographing them, and I thought: ‘I love this. This is what I want to do forever.’ There was never another question.”

 After college, Ms. Mark traveled to Turkey on a Fulbright scholarship, an experience that provided some of the subject matter for her first book, “Passport,” published in 1974.

After she moved to New York in the late 1960s, Look magazine assigned her to photograph Federico Fellini on the set of “Satyricon” in Rome, and also heroin addicts at a London clinic. She went on to work for Life, Time, Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine and other publications.

In 1978, Castelli Graphics in Manhattan presented “Ward 81,” an exhibition of photographs Ms. Mark had taken at the maximum-security women’s ward of a state mental hospital in Oregon, where she lived for two months. The rapport she developed with the inmates translated into strikingly de-dramatized representations of humans in extreme circumstances, in contrast to the freakish portraits made by Diane Arbus.

 The empathy and humanism of the work, published in book form in 1979, impressed critics. Robert Hughes, in Time, called “Ward 81” “one of the most delicately shaded studies of vulnerability ever set on film.” After the show, Ms. Mark signed with the Magnum photo agency.

Her interest in social outcasts remained a constant throughout her career, reflected in the book “Falkland Road: Prostitutes of Bombay” (1981), unusual for being in color. While on assignment for Life in 1983, she began photographing homeless teenagers in Seattle, a ragtag collection of small-time drug dealers, prostitutes and panhandlers who populate the pages of “Streetwise,” published in 1988. With her husband, the filmmaker Martin Bell, who survives her, she turned her encounters into a film, which was nominated for the Academy Award for best documentary in 1984.

Her other books include “Indian Circus” (1993), “Twins” (2003), “Prom” (2012) and “Man and Beast” (2014), as well as several collections that gather her best work, notably “Mary Ellen Mark: Portraits” (1995), “Mary Ellen Mark: American Odyssey” (1999) and “Exposure” (2006). She was the subject of a traveling retrospective exhibition, “Mary Ellen Mark: 25 Years,” which opened in 1992 at the International Center of Photography in Manhattan.

In 2014, she was given the Lifetime Achievement in Photography Award from George Eastman House.

“I would die if I had to be confined,” Ms. Mark told an interviewer for the introduction to “Passport.” “I don’t want to feel that I’m missing out on experiencing as much as I can. For me, experiencing is knowing people all over the world and being able to photograph.”

-William Grimes, New York Times

Tierney Gearon

Tierney Gearon's  personal work often revolves around her family and friends. She considers it "the diary of my soul." She started photographing her children and that work was eventually shown in the "I Am a Camera" exhibition at Saatchi Gallery. She then started photographing her mother. That work was shown as an exhibition called "The Mother project" and 70 images where published as a book and called "Daddy, where are you?".

Cheryl Dunn

Cheryl Dunn spent a large part of her career documenting city streets; and the people who strive to leave their mark there from graffiti writers, artists, skaters, boxers, bikers, protesters, and assorted characters. In the late 90's she began to focus on filmmaking, creating classic films about artists of her generation who have influenced the realities of urban life through their own work. She also has shot for companies like Ray Ban and Adidas. Recently, Dunn made an amazing documentary about New York street photographers called Everybody Street.



Alexis DiBiasio

Alexis DiBiasio was an accountant by profession and a “nightclub enthusiast whose hobby was documenting New York City’s outlandish club culture.” Going by the flyers and invites collected in the ephemera, he photographed in The Tunnel, BLDG, The Pyramid Club, Limelight, Roxy, Save The Robots, Disco 2000, The Cat Club, Danceteria and Red Zone, to name a few.  That covered a nocturnal swath of New York City from Avenue A to Eleventh, East 2nd street to West 54th. “Alexis lived in New York City from the late 1970s through the mid-1990s, when he relocated to Miami Beach.  The move to Florida revealed Alexis’ obsessive compilation of photographs because he left me [Glam] with four meticulously organized and labeled boxes with hundreds of pictures.  Those boxes were the source for some of the photographs in this publication.”

A club kid, as described in the book’s forward penned by Ernie Glam, a contemporary of the scene, “donned thrift-store ensembles that were slashed and redesigned, or they maybe made their own outfits to provoke outrage or hog attention.  They took inspiration from clowns, drag, bondage, sci-fi, horror, punk, Parisian couture and children’s wear.  They had shoe repair shops add layers of soles to shoes and boots until they looked like stilts.  Eventually the look became a stereotype: a skinny young man or woman with clown makeup, a wig or hat, platforms, a lunch box, and a body hugging unitard or hot pants and a stretch t-shirt.” These images are from the nightlife documentary book Fabulousity: A Night You'll Never Forget....Or Remember.


Daniel Rodriguez

Joseph Rodriguez is an internationally recognized documentary photographer who was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Joseph's work has appeared in such publications as American Photo, Black&White, ESPN, The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Jane, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Los Angeles Magazine, Mother Jones, Newsweek, Esquire, Stern and Der Spiegel. He also teaches at New York University, the International Center of Photography, New York and has also taught at universities in Scandinavia, Europe and Mexico.  

Matt Eich

Matt Eich is an independent photographer living in Norfolk, Virginia. He was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1986 and home schooled for eight years before studying photojournalism at Ohio University. As a kid he mowed enough lawns to buy my first camera, and after that he worked at a camera store and learned his trade. He has made photographs for clients around the country, as well as Peru, Rwanda, Botswana, India, Mexico and the United Kingdom.  

Stefan Ruiz

Stefan Ruiz studied painting and sculpture at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the Accademia di Belle Arti, Venice, before turning to photography. In addition, he has taught art at San Quentin State Prison and was the creative director for Colors magazine from 2003 to 2004. His work has appeared in magazines around the world, including the New York Times MagazineDetails,L’Uomo Vogue and Rolling Stone. His award winning advertising photography includes campaigns for Caterpillar, Camper, Diesel and Air France. His photographs have been exhibited at the Photographers’ Gallery, London; Photo España, Madrid; Les Rencontres d’Arles, France; New York Photo Festival; Havana Biennial; and the Contact Photography Festival, Toronto.

Timothy Archibald

Timothy Archibald started photographing his autistic son Elijah when he was 5 years old. His aim was to document the often bizarre and incomprehensible world of his son but the project developed into much more. Elijah has a need for repetition, loves mechanical objects and is socially withdrawn and Timothy set out to document these often annoying habits and rituals. However, over time Elijah became more involved in the process and helped setup and organise locations and poses.

“According to Timothy, his project Echolilia helped him understand the situation, his role as father, but most importantly, to accept his own son’s differences. Those habits that first drove him nuts completely changed through his photos. In Echolilia, father and son create their own visual language, thanks to which they can communicate with each other even when there are no words they both can understand. In fact, Elijah receives positive attention for his rituals, can share something with his dad, and has even started to take his own photos."

Hugh Holland

Hugh Holland, a classic of the Southern California skate scene and self-taught artist began experimenting with photography in the late 1960's but didn't discover his definitive subject until his move to Los Angeles from his native Oklahoma. His colour images are exceptional in their on-going contemporary feel. Shot with a special colour film and often taken during late afternoon, everything is bathed by the soft illumination of the low-lying sun. Special attention is paid to line and form, transforming the snap shot images to appear like carefully composed film stills. These seminal images document the classic era of the early skateboard scene in California in the early 1970's, with many of the images featuring the now legendary names of the sport, such as Jay Adams and Stacy Peralta. Holland began documenting the burgeoning phenomenon in 1975 after becoming instantly captivated through a chance encounter with a group of skateboarding kids whilst driving up Laurel Canyon Boulevard.

Fervent enthusiasm for the energy of the counterculture quickly certified Holland's acceptance within the community. Every spare moment was spent capturing the everyday social interactions of groups, such as the notorious Z-boys from Santa Monica and Venice and the skaters of Kenter Canyon, Paul Revere and Brentwood.

Mike Brodie

It all began when Mike Brodie initially found a discarded Polaroid camera tucked behind a car seat, that was the very moment that his passion and love-affair with photography started. To date his adventures have seem him travel over 50K miles, snatched a lift from 170+ long haul freight trains and passed through 46 US States in the process. We’ve rarely seen photographs with such character and soul. There’s a rawness to Brodie’s work, a reflection one would think on the ramshackle nature of his environment. The images below were shot using 35mm film, providing a rich tapestry to his exhilarating and unique journeys.

Marcus Smith

Marcus Smith is an only child, remembers things from when he was 3, is a Hallmark Institute of Photography graduate, worked as advertising photographer, Gary Land's full time assistant and retoucher for 2 years, has a degree in Business Economics from the Univ. of Illinois, was born and raised in Chicago, loves Michael Jordan AND the Bulls, owns 48 pairs of gym shoes and keeps them all in their original boxes, has 2 middle names, knows the subtle difference between being smart and being intelligent, might talk you to death if given the right conversation to use as a weapon, has a midwest/southern accent, loves music and used to play the piano, thinks awkward situations are hilarious, and lastly, believes anything is possible because his momma told him so.



Scott Pommier

Scott Pommier  was a recipient of the PDN Photo Annual 2011 advertising award and in 2009 won a place in both the Communication Arts Photo Annual and Luerzer’s Archive. Clients include Converse, Dickies, Nixon, Vans, Ferrari Magazine, Chrysler, Dodge, Harley-Davidson, Chevrolet, Under Armour, Puma, Kohl’s; and editorial work for ESPN the Magazine, Intersection, The Daily and Conde Nast.Scott Pommier was born in Elliott Lake, Canada in 1976. He lives in Los Angeles.


Thomas Hoeffgen

Thomas Hoeffgen is a German born photographer who fell in love with photography while working on a ship full of juvenile delinquents. The job was part of his mandatory national civic service (performed in lieu of military service), and as the boat sailed around the Canary Islands Hoeffgen e livened up the situation by shooting portraits of the kids, capturing spontaneous personal moments as well as the passing scenery. This was the beginning of Hoeffgen’s pictorial relationship with movement, foreshadowing his enduring ability to record fleeting moments in a reduced, minimalistic, and cinematic style.

Tim Richmond

Tim Richmond is a UK photographer whose work exists within the landscape of a certain type of cinema. Wherever his inspiration takes him, across the USA, throughout Europe or his native England, his photographs are imbued with narrative strands. Circus Left Town, Free Parking are representative chapters from Last Best Hiding Place. Between 2007-2012 he photographed extensively in Wyoming, Utah, South Dakota and Montana producing a vignette of the West today. Places can seem alone, like people, filled with melancholy.