Maria Bordy

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Marla Bordy (Russian: Мария Борди, born 1918) was a Russian-born news photographer and public relations officer for the United Nations.

Life and career[edit]

Marla Bordy was born in Toropets (Торопец), Pskov Governorate, Russia, 400 km west of Moscow in 1918, and graduated from the College of Foreign Languages in Moscow.[citation needed]

Bordy worked as a news photographer in Vienna, Paris. and New York, where she studied at the School of Modem Photography (SMP), established in 1939 at 487 Park Avenue, New York.[1]

Fluent in Russian, English, French, German and Spanish she was one of four press photographers employed in New York at the Films and Visual Information Section of the United Nations Secretariat in its Department of Public Information (DPI), established in 1946.[2] Her photographs were widely distributed in a variety of media in the form of press releases, posters and booklets, and as educational film strips (a mid-century multimedia format).

Notable work[edit]

A mural print of her photograph of the United Nation General Assembly appeared as the largest image in Edward Steichen’s world-touring The Family of Man exhibition.[3] A copy is held in the Madison Digital Image Database (MDID) collection of James Madison University and 1141 images by her can be accessed in the United Nations News and Media archive.[1]


  1. ^ see advertisement in Popular Photography, Jan. 1957, Vol. 40, No. 1, 47
  2. ^ Bruce Downes ‘Photography at the United Nations’ in Popular Photography Jun 1947 Vol. 20, No. 6, 181
  3. ^ Hurm, Gerd (2018) 'Reassessing Roland Barthes's Myth of The Family of Man' in Hurm, Gerd, (editor.); Reitz, Anke, (editor.); Zamir, Shamoon, (editor.) (2018), The family of man revisited : photography in a global age, London I.B.Tauris, ISBN 978-1-78672-297-3, 29, 102