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

 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 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. 
 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. 
 A great photograph needs no explanation; it functions by suggestion. There is no need to be explicit. 
 It’s not when you press the shutter, but why you press the shutter. 
 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. 
 What’s more frustrating than magazines giving less and less space is that they tell you what they want. Not LIFE, but some magazines actually want you to be an illustrator, and I don’t want to be an illustrator—I don’t enjoy those assignments. You know, I want to have a change to be a real part of the creative process and not just a technician who clicks the camera. 
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