Mary Ellen Mark has the rare ability to make her empathy visible. I believe, but cannot prove, that this is rooted in how she connects to her subjects. The photographic artifact is proof of that connection. This is not rooted in photographic skill or artistry—Avedon did not have it, nor does Penn, and I very much admire their work. Robert Bergman does, as did Diane Arbus.
Working for Mary Ellen was a rich experience on at least two levels: First, by expecting serious attention to the work at hand she made me a better printer (and a better photographer). Second is the not insignificant pleasure of working with good photographs.