A PHOTOGRAPHIC JOURNEY THROUGH LEBANON IN THE SIXTIES
SAQI BOOKS, London, 1998
“Marilyn Stafford takes photographs in ways that another person might write.
Her photographs are mini-stories, each with a kind of hero, a principal character flung up by the street.. She has an eye for capturing the unusual, the strange and the unexpected.
These are the characters of her theater – people of no importance who bear the dust of the streets like a tattoo on their brow.
She directs them with humor and tenderness, with a hint of mischief mixed with nostalgia,, transforming the harshness of their toil into recreation, into a play, and transforming poverty into a state of grace. By the magic of her very personal way of seeing, Marilyn Stafford restores to us a Lebanon now lost to us, but which still retains a cherished place in our hearts”.
From introduction to “Silent Stories”
Venus Khoury- Ghata
STORIES IN PICTURES, 1950:
A PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMOIR
SHOREHAM WORDFEST PUBLICATIONS, 2014
“I am struck by the fact that in all of Stafford’s photographs there is life. Her portraits of the famous – Albert Einstein, Edith Piaf, Henri Cartier-Bresson – are more than records of what their subjects looked like, they are telling indicators of their personalities as well.And in what could be bleak images, like those of the Paris slums, there is always some human ﬁgure – a child playing in the street or maybe just a solitary face at a window – to give the picture immediacy and vibrancy. And if there is no human being available a dog or a cat can produce exactly the same effect. Even when Stafford does what could have been run-of-the-mill fashion shoots for Parisian designers, the models are personalised by the settings in which they are placed and the people in the background. They are integrated into the life of the city.
Though many of Marilyn Stafford’s images imply human suffering – the poverty stricken urchins of the Paris slums, the desperate plight of refugees from the Algerian War of Independence – they carefully avoid pathos. There is a kind of pride in all of the faces her camera captures. The photographs are a celebration of human dignity.They are snapshots, in the very best sense of the word. They capture a moment and preserve it beautifully for posterity. Like all art, they stimulate the memory and the imagination. And our lives are richer for having seen Marilyn Stafford’s images.”
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