2014 Sony World Photography Awards Outstanding Contribution to Photography - Mary Ellen Mark

This year's Sony World Photography Awards Outstanding Contribution to Photography award is being made to documentary photographer, Mary Ellen Mark. Mark is renowned for her documentary images, often shot in black and white, and for the bond that she oftens develops with her subjects, returning to visit them long after her initial assignment is complete. Starting as a freelance, she often worked on film sets, but the four decades of her career has encompassed a great deal of travel photography. Much of her work reflects her humanism and her desire to capture and relate the stories of people living on the margins of society.

Mary Ellen Mark - Ratí and Mike with a Gun, Seattle, Washington, 1983

On being informed of her award, Mark commented: 'I feel very grateful to have received the Sony World Photography Awards’ Outstanding Contribution to Photography accolade. I follow a list of very prestigious people – they are among my favourite photographers.'

Astrid Merget, Creative Director of the World Photography Organisation, said of the award: 'Mary Ellen equates nothing short of excellence and we are honoured to present this award to her. Having spoken to dozens of her peers and critics, it is clear that Mary Ellen has made a permanent mark on our industry. She is fiercely committed and consistent in her work and is bound to show us a great deal more in the coming years.'

Mary Ellen Mark will receive her award on Wednesday 30 April at the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards Gala Ceremony. On the same night, the winners of the awards’ professional categories and the overall L’Iris d’Or / Sony World Photography Awards Photographer of the Year will be announced.

Examples of Mark's work will be exhibited alongside the winning and shortlisted images of the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards at Somerset House, London, from 1 to 18 May 2014. Tickets for the exhibition can be booked via the World Photography Organisation's website.