Title: Jameelia Ricks and Marielle Evangelista, Ithaca High School Prom, June 21, 2008
Instant print (Polaroid)
Dimensions: Image: 24 x 20 in. (61 x 50.8 cm)
Acquired through the generosity of Peter Robbins, Class of 1974, and Jody Robbins
Object Number: 2008.088.003
Mary Ellen Mark’s Prom series captures students at the height of high school aspiration, presenting what each believes to be his or her best self. The Prom series was shot over four years at thirteen American schools, including Ithaca. The students photographed represented a range of backgrounds, personalities, and appearances. Mark was particularly fascinated by the cultural and socioeconomic differences revealed through the promgoers dress, behavior, and choice of partners.
Mark used a Polaroid Land Camera, one of only five in existence. The six-foot-tall, 240-pound camera requires the assistance of a specially trained technician. It allows for stunning detail but requires a level of selection, preparation, and strategy that makes each sitting vital. Consequently, each individual and couple photographed was given red-carpet treatment. During the photo shoot and accompanying interview, Jameelia expressed her desire to become a famous singer and actress. She was one of many students photographed who spoke of becoming famous, and because of Mark’s photographs, they all received their own fifteen minutes of fame. ("15 Minutes: Exposing Dimensions of Fame," curated by undergraduate members of Cornell's History of Art Major's Society and presented at the Johnson Museum April 16 - July 24, 2016)
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.