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Mary Ellen Mark

Mary Ellen Mark

Mary Ellen Mark

This photograph was part of an assignment for the New Yorker magazine. It was taken at a high school prom in a Manhattan hotel about a year ago.

Whenever I photograph nightclubs, bars, or dances I always work with two flash units. One is shoe-mounted on the camera and the other is mounted on a long arm or a monopod and triggered by a radio slave. It's essential to use radio slaves especially at events where other people have flash units. The second unit is a background and an effect light. I also use it as a rim light for my foreground subjects. The second unit is the key light and must be the more powerful of the two strobes (The shoe-mounted flash is the fill). I always use the Quantum Qflash for this second unit. I work with the Qflash because it is reliable, light, powerful, and it allows me to move more freely.

If I were to light the entire room with several powerful strobe units, I would have to be very careful about not getting the strobes in my frame. This way, my assistant and myself can wander freely around the room.

Mamiya 7
50mm lens
Tri-X film

Mary Ellen Mark

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