An Indian boy stands rigid in front of the camera; there is anger in his eyes and sadness covers his face. His misfortune is exposed because a loved one just died. A bald man squats behind him, looking back at what was, too distraught to give any attention to the camera. They are both in torn rags and the buildings in the back are crumbling away from destruction. This is a photo of deterioration.
Mary Ellen Mark captured this photograph. She is one of the most respected and influential photographers today. Because of her and many other photojournalists, we see the brutality of this world. One of the most powerful photography books that she has created is Photographs of Mother Teresa's Missions of Charity in Calcutta. The black and white photos are assiduous and potent. Mark developed a friendship with most of the people she photographed. She wanted to show them compassion more so than taking their photo.
We see her photographs of the dead and those who are days away; their skin sagging off from their bones looking at us with dark, empty eyes. We see the mentally disabled in insitutions, laying in their own pee, with hundreds of scars on their skin. Or the retarded children at Prem Dan, where six little kids lined up one after another, picking at each others hair like monkeys. These photographs distort the mind. They force you to sit down and take in the anguish. .
There is this picture of Mother Teresa's cracked hands. Wrinkles ripples to her wrist, showing age and character. Mark shows the comeliness of Mother Teresa in her truest form. Another picture shows her hand on a child's chin, where she lifted his face to look at her. The two of them look at each other as if they were mother and son. This picture shows the endless love Mother Teresa had for others. .
The last photo I want to share with you is a boy sleeping in the center divider of a street in Calcutta. She writes:.