Conceived and edited by film director Martin Bell, Mary Ellen Mark’s husband and collaborator for 30 years, the Book of Everything celebrates in over 600 images and diverse texts Mark’s extraordinary life, work and vision.
From 1963 to her death in 2015, Mark told brilliant, intimate, provocative stories of characters whom she met and engaged with―often in perpetuity. There was nothing casual or unprepared about Mark’s approach; she unfailingly empathized with the people and places she photographed. For this comprehensive book Bell has selected images from Mark’s thousands of contact-sheets and chromes―from over two million frames in total. These include her own now iconic choices, those published once and since lost in time, as well as some of her as yet unpublished preferences. Bell complements these with a few selections of his own.
Along with Mark’s pictures made in compelling, often tragic circumstances, the Book of Everythingincludes recollections from friends, colleagues and many of those she photographed. Mark’s own thoughts reveal doubts and insecurities, her ideas about the individuals and topics she depicted, as well as the challenges of the business of photography.
I became a photographer because photography found me. Once I started to take pictures there was no choice. That was just what I was and what I wanted to do and what I wanted to be. - Mary Ellen Mark