City Hearts: 2015 Fresh Focus Photo Auction to Honor Mary Ellen Mark


A photograph of the late photographer with Marlon Brando on the set of “Apocalypse Now” will be the key photograph of an auction benefitting the children’s arts charity

Last Updated: August 17, 2015 8:29 pm GMT
(Los Angeles, CA--August 17, 2015) City Hearts’ 4th Annual Fresh Focus Art Auction, slated for November 1st at The Leica Gallery in West Hollywood, will include a special tribute to the late photographer Mary Ellen Mark. A rare photograph of Mark with actor Marlon Brando on the set of the film Apocalypse Now, shot by Stefani Kong Uhler, will be the key photograph in the event’s auction. Proceeds from Fresh Focus 2015 will benefit City Hearts, a non-profit organization whose mission is to transform the lives of L.A’s most underserved and at-risk children through the arts.

This year, City Hearts’ 4th Annual Fresh Focus Art Auction will be juried and feature the work of a host of fine art and celebrity photographers, including Jeff Bridges, Doug Kirkland, Herb Ritts, George Hurrell, Kim-Gottlieb Walker, Eli Reed, Anthony Friedkin, Julia Dean, Michael Semaan, Nicola Goode and Steve Banks, among many others. High-profile Members of the American Society of Cinematographers such as Richard Crudo, Russell Carpenter, David Darby, James Chressanthis, and Vilmos Zsigmond have donated still photography from their gallery showings.

Mark, who died in May, was one of the most accomplished photographers and photojournalists of her generation. Her work appeared in Life, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, The New York Times and many other publications, and has been exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide. Her many accolades included three Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards and three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Stefani Kong Uhler’s photographer of Mark and Brando was taken when the two women were working as photographers assigned to Francis Ford Coppola’s tumultuous film production. The shot was made at the end of the day after Mark had finished her own session with Brando. Mark appears supremely satisfied and content, the actor tamed and giving.

“Mary Ellen Mark was everything people have attributed to her: a magnificent photographer and a soulful human,” says Kong Uhler. “She brought us worlds with great sensitivity and precision. She will be deeply missed.”

Raised in Beverly Hills, Kong Uhler began her career with a letter to Marlon Brando, asking to join the production of Missouri Breaks. She became the actor’s personal photographer and worked with him on several films. She went on to photograph many other Hollywood personalities and movie sets, as well as numerous other subjects ranging from acclaimed scientists to local gangs. Her work has been featured in People, Rolling Stone, Paris Match and many other publications. She is currently working on Heartbeat, a limited edition of photographs from 1975-1985, and a book.

Kong Uhler decided to share this very private photograph as part of the Fresh Focus 2015 auction because of her respect and admiration for the organization’s work with inner city youth. “City Hearts brings essential skills to young people and a new way to access and express their world and lives,” says Kong Uhler. “There is nothing greater than giving children the tools for self-expression.”

About City Hearts

CITY HEARTS: For over 30 years, programs have been that very special place for children to grow, experience the Arts, and learn skills that help motivate and enhance school involvement, community engagement, and a sense of caring and compassion for their local and the global communities while encouraging and inspiring children to reach their full potential. Founded in 1984 by Juvenile Court Public Defenders, Bob and Sherry Jason, City Hearts has provided unique training and experiences in the Arts to over 30,000 children since our inception. We believe that intervention and prevention are key elements to nurturing our children to become creative, compassionate and responsible young adults. City Hearts is southern California’s pre-eminent Arts education outreach organization.

Fresh Focus: A New Shot at Life, City Hearts’ Photography program, encourages students to shoot with cameras – not guns. “We teach our students to evaluate their lives and community with a critical eye so that they may, in turn, educate others about their world and tell their ‘story behind the shot’,” Jason explains.

What: City Hearts: 4th Annual Fresh Focus Photo Auction

When: Sunday, November 1, 2015. 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Where: The Leica Gallery, 8783 Beverly Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90048

Tickets and information:


City Hearts Press

Pauline Rogers

City Hearts office: 310-455-2898


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