Singapore-based brand, “The Salvages” has been available on TOKiON the STORE since its opening. The Salvages , founder Earn Chen and designer Nicolette Yip have previously presented T-shirts and DIY shirts inspired by their favorite bands. Then, this time they created T-shirts featuring the work of American photographer Mary Ellen Mark. There are 4 T-shirt designs, limited to 50 pieces each worldwide and will be released on TOKiON the STORE on December 24th. This is the first official photo T-shirt provided by the Mary Ellen Mark Foundation.
Mary Ellen Mark was born in Pennsylvania, USA in 1940. She was known for her photography on social issues such as prostitution, the homeless and drug addicts. In 1983, she began photographing young people who had left their homes in Seattle, and published the pictures in the “LIFE” magazine and were included in her most important book, Streetwise.
Mary Ellen met and befriended the 13-year-old prostitute, Tiny. They were friends until Mary Ellen passed away in 2015. The cover of “Streetwise”, a picture of Tiny hugging herself and dressed up for Halloween, is featured in this collection.
Mary Ellen often held exhibitions and sold photo albums. Her enthusiastic activities and documentary style attracted fans from all over the world.
Earn & Nicolette are also attracted by how she saw her subjects.
Earn: saying “We have always admired her work which are very provocative and makes you think. Beyond being a good photographer, she was also a humanist. ” In this collection, we selected four pieces, that range from highlighting social issues of the time to adorable images.
“Tiny in Halloween costume”(Seattle,1983)
A photograph of Tiny, the 13-year-old girl mentioned above, represents Mary Ellen’s work. What thoughts were going through her head as she posed and stared at the camera vaguely. Tiny’s road to becoming a troubled, drug-addicted single mother of 10, was documented in the album Tiny, Streetwise Revived.
Earn: “A 13 year old street kid / teenager named Tiny from Seattle that Mary Ellen Mark had a lifelong friendship with. The photo is very iconic. It can be seen on the cover of the book Streetwise.”
“White Junior and Justin with their boomboxes”(Seattle, 1983)
Two boys with boom boxes in the city.
Earn:“I like the fact that they were using the boom box. I had my own boom box and walking around town with it in 1983 too.”(earn)
Gay Pride Parade(New York, 1973)
This is favorite of Nicolette.
Nicolette: “This photo was from an early gay parade in New York City, 1973, before they were even called pride parades.
She had also shot photographs of the controversial 1967 Miss All-America Camp Beauty Pageant and its organizer Jack/Sabrina, way back before the cult documentary Paris Is Burning was filmed. I thought it would be great to show how Mary Ellen Mark was so ahead of her time, when before LGBT was even a term, she had put a spotlight on their lives, documented and captured their very real, extraordinary stories.”
Ruby Tuesday as Minnie Mouse(New York, 2014)
The dog dressed as a certain character has an adorable expression. This piece was recommended by Earn and Nicolette who are avid dog-lovers.
Earn: “We are dog lovers and having a dog on a T-shirt is everything! It is very light hearted to see it.”