Edition 2024



1 July - 29 September 2024

10.00 AM - 07.30 PM


Guided by humanist ideals, the US documentary photographer, storyteller, and portraitist, Mary Ellen Mark (1940–2015), focused her gaze on people with often diverse backgrounds, leading lives quite different from her own. In addition to celebrities of all sorts, Mark was especially drawn to those individuals overlooked or otherwise marginalized by society.

Mary Ellen Mark’s way of working was characterized by her warmth, empathy and perseverance. She devoted a lot of time and attention to her protagonists, in a few cases returning to photograph them again and again over the course of many years—thus forging close relationships with many. Her stories were often initially commissioned by well-known magazines such as Life, Vogue, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair; these pieces might then evolve into personal projects over time.

“What I’m trying to do is make photographs that are universally understood... that cross cultural lines. I want my photographs to be about the basic emotions and feelings that we all experience,” she said about her work.

Grounded in the themes and passions that help distinguish the photographer’s oeuvre, at the heart of Mary Ellen Mark. Encounters are five of her most indepth projects, often realized most definitively in book form. These projects focus on institutionalized women in the Oregon State Hospital, street children in Seattle, as well as sex workers in Mumbai, the needy and dying in Mother Teresa’s charities and travelling circus families in India. In addition to her most iconic pictures, rare archival materials such as the photographer’s contact sheets, personal notes and official correspondence provide insight into the genesis of these long-term series for the first time.

Sophia Greiff and Melissa Harris

Curators: Sophia Greiff and Melissa Harris.

Exhibition organized by C/O Berlin Foundation and Mary Ellen Mark Foundation, New York.

Publications: Mary Ellen Mark: Encounters, co-edition C/O Berlin Foundation and Steidl, 2023; Mary Ellen Mark, Photo Poche Collection, Actes Sud, 2024.

  • Institutional partners

    • République Française
    • Région Provence Alpes Côté d'Azur
    • Département des Bouches du Rhône
    • Arles
    • Le Centre des monuments nationaux est heureux de soutenir les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles en accueillant des expositions dans l’abbaye de Montmajour
  • Main partners

    • Fondation LUMA
    • BMW
    • SNCF
    • Kering
  • Media partners

    • Arte
    • Lci
    • Konbini
    • Le Point
    • Madame Figaro
    • France Culture