Mary Ellen Mark

A contributing photographer for The New Yorker, Mark is known for her affecting portraits of the downtrodden and occasionally, of the rich and famous.

Philadelphia-native Mark moved to New York in 1967 and began taking photographs in Central Park and Times Square. Her big break arrived in 1973, when she got a job as the still photographer on Milos Forman's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Mark instead spent her spare time photographing the female inmates of the asylum the movie was filmed in and since then, she's taken photographs for a long list of publications including Life, Rolling Stone, and the New Yorker, using photography to explore social issues like prostitution, poverty and drug addiction. She's taken disquieting photos of streetwalkers in Bombay, street kids in Seattle, the homeless in Los Angeles, and starving children in Ethiopia. Mark has published more than a dozen books of photography — her most recent is 2008's Seen Behind the Scene. She's also dabbled in lighter fare, documenting ordinary people and celebrities for magazines such as Allure, In Style, Vogue, and W. Additionally, Mark is the photographer behind a number of advertising campaigns for a number of companies, including Barnes & Noble, Coach, Heineken, Keds, and Nissan.

Mark is married to Martin Bell, who directed the Oscar-winning documentary Streetwise, based on Mark's photo essay on runaway children in Seattle. They live in New York. [Image via Getty]