Mary Ellen Mark
[Photographer, b. 1940, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, d. 2015, New York.]

 I just think it’s important to be direct and honest with people about why you’re photographing them and what you’re doing. After all, you are taking some of their soul, and I think you have to be clear about that. 
 In a portrait, you always leave part of yourself behind. 
 If you are interested in photography because you love it and are obsessed with it, you must be self-motivated, a perfectionist, and relentless. 
 I don’t think you can develop or learn a “way of seeing” or a “point of view.” A “way of seeing” is who you are, how you think and how you create images. It is something that is inside of you. It’s how you look at the world. 
 I go into every story thinking I’m going to fail. I think about that all the time—I think it’s going to be terrible. Every story is like the first I’ve ever done. 
 It’s not when you press the shutter, but why you press the shutter. 
 A great photograph needs no explanation; it functions by suggestion. There is no need to be explicit. 
 I think you have to have a real point of view that’s your own. You have to tell it your way. And, I think that it’s a mistake to shoot for a specific magazine’s point of view because it’s never going to be as good. You have to shoot for yourself and photograph [the way] you believe it. 
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