From Publishers Weekly
Documentarian Mark captured the late Mother Teresa working among the starving sick of Calcutta, and her portraits of Central American factory workers and the underclasses of Appalachia and U.S. inner cities have combined empathy and insight. Now Mark goes all Diane Arbus on us in her new book of twins shot in 20 x 24 black and white Polaroid format, stunningly reproduced. Shot during 2001 and 2002 "Twins Days" festivals in Twinsburg, Ohio, site of the annual U.S. convention for twins (and triplets), subjects were pursued and herded into a darkened tent built to Mark's specifications by a large crew. The book begins with a pair of young girls in what looks to be the bygone costumes of the Gish sisters in D.W. Griffith's Broken Blossoms, and the air of the antique and the unsettling rarely lets up. One elderly man stands before the camera holding a photograph of his late twin brother. A father in cop uniform drags a wagon built up into jail bars to carry his twin daughters, dressed in cute jailbird costumes. The same dad in Hawaiian tourist garb exhibits the same girls the following year as hula maidens in leis and grass skirts. Mark's tent-show approach inevitably leads to questions of exploitation and voyeurism. She attempts to let her subjects have their own voice, printing brief excerpts from a thousand pages of transcribed interviews. This section disappoints, as we learn little about the individual twins other than that some of them share private languages and others like to use their twinness for pranks (we learn that the 27-year-old men she photographed in matching boxer shorts like to trick girls into having sex with both). Mark, queen of female photographers, has a steady following, and this new project deepens her legend in disturbing ways.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Perhaps the most influential and wonderfully unsettling female photographer of all time, Mary Ellen Mark does a double take in Twins." -- Elissa Schappell --Vanity Fair
See all Editorial Reviews
"In Mark's often-stark black-and-white photographs, the misunderstood, the self-destructive, the unnoticed and the sidelined confront the viewer, dating the world to turn away but not begging for pity. Mark comes from a generation of photographers who believe cameras can be used as a force for change." -- Tyrone Beason --The Seattle Times
"Mary Ellen Mark's portraits of twins have to be seen to be believed." -- Russell Hart --American Photo
"Mark, queen of female photographers, has a steady following, and this new project deepens her legend in disturbing ways." --Publishers Weekly