Marilyn Stafford (born 1925) is a British photographer. She worked mainly as a freelance photojournalist based in Paris in the 1950s and early 1960s, then in London, travelling to Lebanon, Tunisia, India and elsewhere. Her work was published in The Observer and other newspapers. Stafford also worked as a fashion photographer in Paris, where she photographed models in the streets in everyday situations, rather than in the more usual opulent surroundings.
Stafford has published two books of photographs, Silent Stories: A Photographic Journey Through Lebanon in the Sixties (1998), and Stories in Pictures: A Photographic Memoir 1950 (2014) of Paris in the 1950s. She has had solo exhibitions, some being a retrospective and some being of a single subject: Indira Gandhi, and Parisian slum children.
Life and work
In 1948, Stafford took her first portrait of Albert Einstein, for friends who were making a documentary film about him. In order to gain experience in photography, she worked as an assistant to the fashion photographer Francesco Scavullo.
In December 1948 she joined a friend in moving to Paris. For a short while she sang with an ensemble at Chez Carrère, a dinner club off the Champs-Élysées. There she met and became friends with the war photographer and photojournalist Robert Capa. Her friend the writer Mulk Raj Anand introduced her to another photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson, who she also became friends with. Cartier-Bresson encouraged her to take photographs on the streets of Paris, so she took buses to the end of the line and made photos such as of children (some candid, some not) in the slum of Cité Lesage-Bullourde (near Place de la Bastille, and since cleared to make way for Opéra Bastille); and in the neighbourhood of Boulogne-Billancourt, in 1950. In 1956 she married Robin Stafford, a British foreign correspondent for the Daily Express working in Paris. In 1958, whilst five or six months pregnant with their daughter, Stafford went on a personal assignment to Tunisia to document and publicise the plight of Algerian refugees fleeing France's scorched earth aerial bombardment in the Algerian War. Back in Paris she showed the pictures to Cartier-Bresson, who made a selection and sent them to The Observer, which published two on its front page.
In Paris Stafford also worked as a fashion photographer for a public relations agency, photographing various types of clothing.:37 Fashion photography of haute couture (custom-fitted) clothing at that time was normally modelled in opulent surroundings so as to convey a sense of luxury. In photographing the new ready-to-wear clothing of the time, Stafford instead took a documentary approach, photographing models out in the streets, suggesting more down-to-earth situations.
In the late 1950s her husband's work sent the couple to Rome, then in the early 1960s to Beirut for over a year. Stafford travelled extensively in Lebanon, photographing people and places, later collected in her book Silent Stories: A Photographic Journey through Lebanon in the Sixties (1998).
Stafford and her husband separated. In the mid-1960s she moved to London, working as a photographer in various roles. She worked freelance as an international photojournalist for The Observer on both commissions and self-assigned projects, one of few women photographers working for national newspapers at that time. In 1972 she spent a month photographing Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India. She worked as a stills photographer on feature films and commercials, including on All Neat in Black Stockings (1969).
Throughout her career she has made portraits, including those of Cartier-Bresson, Edith Piaf, Italo Calvino, Le Corbusier, Renato Guttuso, Carlo Levi, Sharon Tate, Donovan, Christopher Logue, Lee Marvin, Joanna Lumley, David Frost, and Twiggy.
Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award
The Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award was launched on International Women’s Day 2017. It is to be granted annually to a professional woman photographer working on a documentary photo essay which addresses a social, environmental, economic or cultural issue. The winner receives £1000 and mentoring by Stafford and FotoDocument, an organisation that uses documentary photography to draw attention to positive social and environmental activity.
The 2017 winner was Rebecca Conway, with honorable mentions for Ranita Roy, Monique Jaques, and Lynda Gonzalez.
The 2018 winner was Özge Sebzeci and the runners up were Mary Turner and Simona Ghizzoni.
Publications by Stafford
- Silent Stories: A Photographic Journey through Lebanon in the Sixties. London: Saqi, 1998. ISBN 978-0-86356-099-6. With a preface by Vénus Khoury-Ghata, "Marilyn Stafford's Theatre of the Unexpected".
- Stories in Pictures: A Photographic Memoir 1950. Shoreham, UK: Shoreham Wordfest, 2014. ISBN 978-0-9930446-0-1. With a foreword by Simon Brett and an introduction by Nina Emett. Edition of 50 copies.
- Photographic Memories – Lost Corners of Paris: The Children of Cité Lesage-Bullourde and Boulogne-Billancourt, 1949-1954. 2017. Texts in English and French by Julia Winckler and Adrienne Chambon, photographs by Stafford. Exhibition catalogue.[n 1]
- Indira and Her India, Nehru Centre, London, November 2013.
- Arundel Museum, Arundel, UK, December 2013. A retrospective of work from the 1940s to 1960s.
- Photographic Memories of Lost Spaces: The Children of Cité Lesage-Bullourde and Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris 1949-1954, Alliance Française de Toronto, Toronto, Canada, March 2017. Curated by Julia Winckler.
- Marilyn Stafford - Stories in Pictures 1950-60, Lucy Bell Gallery, St Leonards-on-Sea, UK, May–June 2017; Art Bermondsey Project Space, London, June–July 2017.
- I Shot Einstein (2016) – eight-minute documentary film about Stafford, directed by Dan Evans and Merass Sadek, produced by Tilt.[n 2] Shown at the Artemis Women In Action Film Festival 2017 (Santa Monica, CA); Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival 2017 (Middlebury, VT); FilmBath 2017 (Bath, UK); Paris Lift-Off Festival Online 2017; and Cine-City 2017 (Brighton, UK).
Stafford's work is held in the following permanent collection:
- The British Architectural Library, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), London: 5 items
- Willsher, Kim (4 December 2017). "How a chance meeting with Einstein led to the accidental start of a unique photography career". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
- Thorpe, Vanessa (30 April 2017). "The photographer who captured a time of change". The Observer. London. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
- Whitmore, Greg (29 April 2017). "The chic and the shabby: Paris in the 1950s by Marilyn Stafford". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
- "Marilyn Stafford – Stories in Pictures 1950-60". International Times. 27 April 2017. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
- "Robin Stafford, Journalist – Obituary". The Daily Telegraph. London. 2 January 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
- "Lucy Bell Gallery exhibits works by photo-journalist Marilyn Stafford" ArtDaily, 11 May 2017. Accessed 30 May 2017
- "Photo-journalist's portraits go on show". Shoreham Herald. Shoreham-by-Sea. 1 December 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
- Gilson, Edwin (21 April 2017). "The extraordinary life of photographer Marilyn Stafford". The Argus (Brighton). Brighton and Hove. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
- Julia Winckler (2017). Photographic Memories – Lost Corners of Paris: The Children of Cité Lesage-Bullourde and Boulogne-Billancourt (PDF). Alliance Française de Toronto or Julia Winckler.
- Marilyn Stafford (2014). Stories in Pictures: A Photographic Memoir 1950. Shoreham Wordfest. ISBN 978-0-9930446-0-1.
- Børre Ludvigsen (26 November 1998). "Marilyn Stafford: Silent Stories: A Photographic Journey through Lebanon in the Sixties". Al Mashriq. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
- "On the occasion of Indira Gandhi Birth Anniversary TNC Presents: Exhibition: Indira and Her India- India Remembere 1971 to 1981 - Marilyn Stafford" Nehru Centre, London. Accessed 30 May 2017
- "Madam and Marilyn: access all areas". The Telegraph (Calcutta). Calcutta. 24 November 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
- "All Neat in Black Stockings (1969)" IMDb. Accessed 31 May 2017
- "Portraits". marilynstaffordphotography.com. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
- "A glimpse into history at Arundel Museum's exhibit". Littlehampton Gazette. Littlehampton. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
- "FotoReportage Award" FotoDocument. Accessed 31 May 2017
- "Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award in association with FotoDocument" Photoworks, 9 March 2017. Accessed 1 June 2017
- "Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award Winner" FotoDocument, 16 June 2017. Accessed 19 June 2017
- "2018 FotoAward Winners Announced / Rebecca Conway 'Valley of the Shadow' launch". FotoDocument. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
- "Photographic memories of lost spaces : The Children of Cité Lesage-Bullourde and Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris 1949-1954" Alliance Française de Toronto. Accessed 1 June 2017
- Julia Winckler. "Marilyn Stafford, Alliance Francaise". Retrieved 2 June 2017.
- Mouch, Lila (13 March 2017). "Pour que les enfants du Paris de l'après-guerre ne soient plus "invisibles"". L'Express (Toronto). Toronto. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
- Mouch, Lila (3 April 2017). "Quand les rues du Ward appartenaient aux enfants". L'Express (Toronto). Toronto. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
- "Exposition de photos rares de la photographe américaine Marylin Stafford". CBC.ca. 7 March 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
- "Marilyn Stafford - Stories in Pictures 1950-60: 6th May - 24th June 2017" Lucy Bell Fine Art. Accessed 30 May 2017
- "Marilyn Stafford - Stories In Pictures 1950-1960". The List. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
- "Marilyn Stafford: Stories in Pictures 1950 – 1960: June 27 @ 11:00 am - July 8 @ 6:00 pm". Art Bermondsey Project Space. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
- "I Shot Einstein (2016)" IMDb. Accessed 2 June 2017
- "2017 Streaming Schedule - Artemis Women in Action Film Festival". Artemis Women In Action Film Festival. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
- "2017 Festival Schedule". Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
- "2017 Schedule - Visages Villages". FilmBath. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
- "Paris Lift-Off Online 2017". Lift-Off Festivals. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
- "Brighton Screenings Documentary". Cine-city. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
- "RIBA Architecture Image Library". RIBAPix. Royal Institute of British Architects. Retrieved 3 June 2017.