Mary Ellen Mark: An inspiration to many

by | Jul 22, 2015

Joni Kabana is a curious nomad with a camera and sound recorder, working on magazine, NGO, corporate and advertisement assignments across the globe. She is based in Portland, Oregon, USA and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This article was originally published on May 26, 2015 on her blog.

Mary Ellen Mark lives.

She is still examining between the lines of what we see and what we understand. The subjects of her portraits, her students, the people whose eyes she deeply sought and whose lives she intricately examined, know she is not gone. How could she possibly be far from our reach for influence?

Her voice lives on. Her love of the less seen and forgotten souls lives on. Her catch of nuance and unveiled thinking still moves us.

I will miss talking with her, yes. Seeing her braids. Hearing the jangling of her bracelets. Feeling the swish of air that arises from her swirling skirts when she walks by. Looking at her hands.

But she lives. She’s here. Her belief in humanity and resulting photographic images command a riveting attention like no other. How she moves us.

Maybe I finally will listen to her words of advice more so now since she won’t have to repeat those sentiments as often as she had to in the past. Sorrow blankets my heart. I can hear her voice, magnified.

No, Mary Ellen has not left us. She has only just begun to fill the world around us, and will do so for our future generations.

She just caught the light.

Click here to listen to Joni’s radio interview on Oregon Public Broadcasting:  Remembering Mary Ellen Mark.

All images in this post © Joni Kabana.

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