I am both a documentary photographer and a portrait photographer.
Great documentary photography captures a precise moment in one frame. Great portrait photography captures the essence of the person or persons being photographed. In portraiture, the subject is usually very aware of the camera. Sometimes a photograph is both portraiture and documentary.
Five years ago, I started working with the Polaroid 20x24 camera. I use this camera most often as a portrait camera. For me, there is no better format than 20x24 to catch that very essence of a person. The extraordinary detail in this format brings portraiture to yet another level. Of course because of the size and amount of light needed with this camera, the subject is most certainly aware when he of she is being photographed.
I’ve always been fascinated by twins. In my forty years of photographing, whenever there was an opportunity I would take a picture of twins. I found the notion that two people could appear to look exactly alike very compelling..
The Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio is an annual gathering of several thousand sets of twins with festivities and events. I heard about it several years ago and I very much wanted to go there to take pictures. My first trip to Twinsburg was in 1998. It was an amazingly visual experience and at the same time, very strange and frustrating. It was like I was seeing double and I felt somewhat isolated not being a twin. At the airpoirt on my way back to New York, I remember thinking how bizarre it was to be surrounded by non-twins [...]
-Mary Ellen Mark, January 2003
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