Professional photographer

Prominent American photographer Mary Ellen Mark will photograph prom on May 17 at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica for her “Prom” series.

Mark began the series three years ago, focusing primarily on East Coast high schools for her photographs.

Mark creates the prints for this series from a seven foot tall Polaroid camera, one of only three in existence.

Due to the recent discontinuation of Polaroid film and cameras, this will be Mark’s final year photographing for her “Prom” series.

Mark will choose about 15 couples to photograph at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel, spending roughly 20 minutes with each couple and asking general information about their prom experience.

“We will choose couples to photograph based on their diversity because we want to be sure there’s a good range of representation,” Library Manager for the Mary Ellen Mark Studio and Library Meredith Lue said. “And we will choose the couples based on their energy and also based on what they’re wearing and just their overall appearance.”

The photographs are unique Polaroid prints, reproductions of which will be available to the students who are photographed during the course of the night.

“We will have to convert the film from its Polaroid form to standard inkjet for the students,” Lue said. “They should look really great.”
Mark will offer six to eight intern positions for the night to Harvard-Westlake photography students who will not be attending prom with the rest of their schoolmates. 
“We always need extra help,” Lue said. “We would totally be open to students helping out.”
Over the past three years, Mark has photographed six different high school proms.
Mark plans to photograph another six schools’ proms by the end of the summer, including two schools in Los Angeles County, two in Texas and one in Virginia.

The series will conclude at the end of this school year, with a total of 12 school’s proms having been photographed.

A compilation book of all of the photographs comprising Mark’s “Prom” series will eventually be released, in addition to a short documentary.

The documentary will be directed by her husband, film director Martin Bell.

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