Mary Ellen Mark frequently photographed people on the fringes of society. By training her camera on those who went unseen, she willed them to be just the opposite.
In 1983, a collection of these photographs was published in a LIFE Magazine photo essay called “Streets of the Lost.” The unseen in this case were the homeless youth of Seattle. When Mark’s indelible images hit newsstands, a once-invisible population was brought to life by an unforgettable collection of very real human faces.
Mark, who died Monday at 75, chose Seattle for this project because it was known as one of America’s most livable cities. She wanted to show that if kids were living on the street there, then they were living on the streets of every major American city. She didn’t photograph from a distance, but rather implanted herself in the daily lives of her subjects, and this intimacy allowed her…
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