Lillie with Her Rag Doll, Seattle

Object Details


Lillie with Her Rag Doll, Seattle


Mary Ellen Mark (American, 1940 - 2015)




Seattle, Washington, United States, North America (Place created)




Gelatin silver print

Object Number:



22.6 × 34 cm (8 7/8 × 13 3/8 in.)


© Mary Ellen Mark

See more

See less

It is difficult to identify Lillie, dressed in baggy clothes and dragging on a cigarette butt, as a thirteen-year-old girl; only the rag doll cradled in her arm belies her age. Mary Ellen Mark's inclusion of the doll implies lost innocence--especially juxtaposed against a graffiti wall with the word "dope," a reference to drugs, clearly visible.

This photograph is part of a photo essay entitled Streetwise. In 1983 Life magazine sent Mark to Seattle to document the phenomenon of adolescents who left family and home in favor of life on the street. Sleeping in abandoned buildings and scavenging for food in dumpsters, these street children survived by begging, stealing, and hustling; the girls often turned to prostitution. Mark's photo essay resulted in the 1988 book, Streetwise. The project also relates to a film of the same title, on which she collaborated with her husband, Martin Bell.

Public Faces/Private Spaces: Recent Acquisitions (October 10, 2006 to February 4, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), October 10, 2006 to February 4, 2007
Role Models: Photography by American Women (October 17, 2008 to January 25, 2009)
  • National Museum of Women in the Arts (U.S.). Library Fellows (Washington), October 17, 2008 to January 25, 2009
Engaged Observers: Documentary Photography since the Sixties (June 29 to November 14, 2010)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 29 to November 14, 2010