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Photographer: Mary Ellen Mark
Publisher: Steidl
Publication date: 2023
Print length: 132 pages
Language: English
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A new edition of Mark’s most iconic project, including original text and a new image sequence printed from scans of the original 35mm Kodachromes.

On her very first trip to India in 1968, American photographer Mary Ellen Mark (1940–2015) visited Falkland Road, the notorious red-light area in Bombay (now Mumbai). She tried to photograph its inhabitants, yet was consistently met with hostility and aggression, both from the prostitutes she sought to portray and the men who were their customers. Resilient, she returned in October 1978 after 10 years of trying to photograph the area, this time sponsored by a magazine. She slowly began to make friends and finally entered the daily lives of these “very special” women. “I had no idea if I could do this,” Mark recalls in her introduction, “but I knew I had to try.” Her portraits of Falkland Road’s denizens are beautiful and shocking: remarkable for their intimate compositions, visceral color and emotional power. Her accompanying captions introduce her subjects and their stories, their daily lives and the profound bonds they share with one another. Mark herself describes this series as “one of the most powerful and rewarding experiences of my photographic life.” Falkland Road has long been recognized as one of Mark’s major bodies of work. It was initially published in 1981 and again in a 2005 Steidl edition with additional photos. Including Mark’s original introduction and captions as well the new photos of the 2005 book, this latest edition―with a revised sequence, and printed from scans of the original 35mm Kodachromes―is the truest expression of her insight into this raw world, made accessible by the intensity of her involvement and compassion.
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