MARY ELLEN MARK Photo Workshop Series: OAXACA
MARY ELLEN MARK Photo Workshop Series: OAXACA
One of our most popular workshops taught by world renowned photographer Mary Ellen Mark.



Mary Ellen Mark’s workshop in Oaxaca, Mexico is a 10-day intensive workshop for photographers of various levels. It’s a very successful and productive class that Mary Ellen has taught for more than 17 years. Many students have taken the class multiple times—and some have come back more than ten times!


The first day of the workshop is a group portfolio review to identify your strengths and weaknesses as a photographer.  Then Mary Ellen will help each student choose a project to photograph each day for the duration of the class. It is essential that you work every day. Following each day of shooting, students will drop off their film for overnight processing or edit their images on their laptops.


Each morning, you’ll meet with Mary Ellen for a one-to-one session; reviewing the work you shot the day before. The class also meets each evening as a group to talk about how their projects are going and also to look at the work of some local artists. The workshop is a unique combination of one-on-one critiques with Mary Ellen, shooting your own projects, and group discussions in a fascinating city. Work every day, and we guarantee that your leave Oaxaca a much stronger photographer.




  • On the first Sunday evening the class meets at a local restaurant and have your first dinner together.


  • Each student must bring his or her portfolio. On Monday, there is a general critique of each student’s work. It is held at the Manuel Alvarez Bravo Photography Center a beautiful museum in downtown Oaxaca.


  • After Mary Ellen reviews their work, you’re given an individual assignment or theme to shoot over the course of the workshop. Mary Ellen has been working in Oaxaca for 15 years and is assisted by Mexican photographers Selma Fernandez Richter and Cristina Llerena. Together they have lots of ideas and contacts in the area.


  • Students will shoot every day for seven days. Following each day, students will drop off their film for overnight processing either at the C-41 local lab, at the darkroom or will edit their images on their laptops.  There will be a limit on the number of images each student can shoot each day depending on the size of the class.


  • Each student is given a specific time to meet individually with Mary Ellen every morning. The work you have done the previous day is edited and images are selected to have work prints made. These meetings are held at the Manuel Alvarez Bravo Photography Center,


  • Every evening, the class comes together at the Manuel Alvarez Bravo Photography Center to discuss how you’re doing so far, and to see the work of local artists. During the workshop, you won’t be allowed to show your work to the other students.


  • The final critique is held on a Wednesday. This is the first time you’ll see each other’s work from Oaxaca. It’s fascinating and exciting to see the images each student has produced, especially because everyone produces excellent work, and even the less experienced students are making fantastic progress in the quality of their photography.


  • We put together a book of the best images from the workshop. You’ll then have the option of buying a copy of the book directly in Blurb. We will email instructions about it at a latter date.


  • We have our final dinner on Wednesday February 17th. Thursday morning, everyone returns home as a better photographer.



This class is for photographers of all levels. Applications, if sent separate from the registration, are due no later 45 days prior to beginning of workshop. Notification of acceptance will be made by within the following 48 hours.



Each student is responsible for bringing their own camera and equipment, including a laptop for digital shooters.  Film shooters must bring their own film since film is difficult and expensive to purchase in Oaxaca. Attendees should bring their portfolio to the class for review. Prints only, no digital files. Digital printouts are fine.


The workshop is set up in a unique way and was exactly the type of environment that I desired in a workshop. It is structure to let each participant fulfill their own goals- with the help and direction of Mary Ellen Mark. I have considered taking other workshops, but this one is at the top of my list. I really appreciate the focus on working with subjects and capturing unique moments. One of the benefits to the types of opportunities we are offered in the workshop is the chance to experience different types of shooting situations. Mary Ellen was able to point out where my strengths were and what areas I should improve on``. -- Leslie Granda-Hill
Mary Ellen's classes are incredible. I turn my life around every year so I can get to her workshop in Oaxaca. And as long as she is giving those workshops, I will be there. Mary Ellen is singularly the most giving and gifted teacher I have ever had. She shows up 110% for every individual in the workshop. She is tireless, expansive, passionate about photography, compassionate towards the students. She knows when to push, when to pull back, hot to pull out the very best in the person and their work. She is accessible, caring, tough in all the right ways and genius of a photographer herself. -- Lori Barra
I have been taking the workshop for about fourteen years. What started out as an assignment to photograph underprivileged children, turn into a long term project and life long friendships with my three families. I learned from Mary Ellen, the importance of consistency as way to build up trust. It's through the trust that I am able to explore the human condition, and move beyond the photograph. Where there was initially a lot of distance in my work, there is now and intimacy, Mary Ellen has changed the way I see the world by ``being bold`` as a photographer, taking risks, moving beyond, being uncomfortable`` -- Jody Watkins
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  • February 7 – 18, 2016

mary-ellen-mark-profileMARY ELLEN MARK

Mary Ellen Mark has achieved worldwide visibility through her numerous books, exhibitions and editorial magazine work. She is a contributing photographer to The New Yorker and has published photo-essays and portraits in such publications as LIFE, New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair. For almost three decades, she has traveled extensively to make pictures that reflect a high degree of humanism. Today, she is recognized as one of our most respected and influential photographers. Her images of our world’s diverse cultures have become landmarks in the field of documentary photography. Her portrayals of Mother Teresa, Indian circuses, and brothels in Bombay were the product of many years of work in India. A photo essay on runaway children in Seattle became the basis of the academy award nominated film STREETWISE, directed and photographed by her husband, Martin Bell.


Mary Ellen has received many awards and grants including the Cornell Capa Award, the Infinity Award for Journalism, an Erna & Victor Hasselblad Foundation Grant, and a Walter Annenberg Grant for her book and exhibition project on AMERICA. Among her other awards are the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the Matrix Award for outstanding woman in the field of film/photography, and the Dr. Erich Salomon Award for outstanding merits in the field of journalistic photography. She was also presented with honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees from her Alma Mater, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of the Arts; three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts; the Photographer of the Year Award from the Friends of Photography; the World Press Award for Outstanding Body of Work Throughout the Years; the Victor Hasselblad Cover Award; two Robert F. Kennedy Awards; and the Creative Arts Award Citation for Photography at Brandeis University. Nissan, and Patek Philippe.

TRIP GALLERY - Oaxaca Workshop