Photographer Mary Ellen Mark passed away on Monday at the age of 75.

I was fortunate enough to hear Mark speak at my alma mater (Columbus College of Art & Design) back in February 1998.

Just before the lecture started, I bumped into her in the foyer. She asked me where the restroom was, so I pointed her in the right direction.

After the lecture, she signed books and posters for fans.

Mary Ellen Mark...

Being a poor college student, I didn’t have the cash for a book so I had to settle for a free poster. In addition to her signature, she wrote one word: “Thanks!” When I asked what she was thanking me for she replied, “For showing me where the bathroom was.”

That poster still exists in a box back in Milwaukee. It’s now due for a framing.

Still, though I didn’t get my hands on a signed book that day, I was fortunate enough to get a photo with her… holding the ever-famous rubber taco.

...with the ever-famous rubber taco!

Mark was one hell of an artist, but more importantly appeared to be a kind woman. She’ll be missed.

So glad I knew where the bathroom was,

-Shady

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