One of the great documentary photographers of the 20th century, Mary Ellen Mark, is featured in this short documentary by Profoto. It contains so many small truths and pointers that we can all learn from.
Mary Ellen Mark's authentic, down-to-earth images are timeless, and by listening to her speak, you can understand why. To the end, Mary Ellen Mark's approach to photography remained consistent. As she put it herself in this video: "I'm looking for what makes a good photograph." She's not talking about post-processing or drawing the most out of the gear you're working with (you may notice that she was working with a Mamiya 7 II).
Throughout the video, she encourages us to work hard, to aspire to be exceptional at our craft, and to pursue what we truly want to do. To learn more from Mary Ellen Mark, you can pick up a copy of her book The Portrait and the Moment: The Photography Workshop Series, which brings together into one volume the teaching points from her workshops over the years and offers insight into creating a documentary style portrait. There are also many books of her photographs available, and these may be even more telling than her teachings.
What other iconic photographers do you think we could all learn something from? Leave us a comment below with some names to get us inspired.