Man and Beast: Photographs from Mexico and India, is both a book (University of Texas Press) and exhibition. The title was inspired veteran photographer Mary Ellen Mark’s interest in the relationships between people and animals, including, she says in a statement about the work, “the anthropomorphic quality of animals and the animalistic quality of man.” The exhibition at the Wittliff Collections, “Man and Beast,” includes more than 90 images (the book includes 116) taken in both Mexico and India, places that have interested Mark throughout her career. The subjects of these photos are primarily circus performers and animal trainers. In 1968, Mark saw her first Indian circus, and has since photographed 18 Indian traveling circuses in 1989 and 1990, and more in Mexico in 1997. The circus, Marks says, is a “universal form of theater.”
Man and Beast: Photographs from Mexico and India is the seasoned photographer’s nineteenth book. “Man and Beast” will be on display at the Wittliff Collections, located in the Alkek Library at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, through December 7, 2014, and are part of the Wittliff’s permanent collection.