Tiny in Halloween Costume Blowing Bubble, Seattle
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© Mary Ellen Mark

Mary Ellen Mark
American, Seattle, 1983
Gelatin silver print
8 7/8 x 13 3/8 in.

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Tiny was thirteen when she and Mary Ellen Mark first met. Impressed by her ease in front of the camera, Mark developed a friendship with her, and continued to photograph her over the years. Here, Tiny wears a Halloween costume that she pieced together to look like a French prostitute. She nonchalantly blows a bubble with her chewing gum while gazing directly into the lens. As a girl, Tiny dreamed about horses, yachts, diamonds, and jewels. Twenty years later, she was the mother of nine children.

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.