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Mary Ellen Mark’s Film Set Photos

The Weinstein Gallery in Minneapolis is currently showing the work of documentary photographer Mary Ellen Mark. The exhibit, “Seen Behind the Scene/40 Years of Photographing on Set,” presents 40 years of Mark’s backstage photography on movie sets—her “day job.” She was hired by film studios and sometimes magazines to photograph movie sets and has captured behind-the-scenes photos for over 100 films, including Federico Fellini’s Satyricon (1969), Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1976) and Baz Luhrmann’s Australia (2008). She noted in her book Seen Behind the Scene (Phaidon, 2008) that taking photos of the movie industry has shaped her portrait and documentary work: “My own experience of observing this world has helped me immensely in my work outside of it, whether it’s directing my subjects, finding the best way to use light, working with stylists, or producing a project. I’ve watched the greatest of the great work and they have inspired me.”

Mark has won numerous awards including National Endowment for the Arts fellowships; she was also named “Most Influential Woman Photographer of All Time” in a poll of American Photo readers. To see more of this award-winning artist’s candid shots of Hollywood figures like Jack Nicholson and Sean Penn as well as snapshots of the film industry, visit the Weinstein Gallery before the exhibit closes on July 27.