Marilyn Stafford: A Life in Photography

Bluecoat Press, March 2024

Marilyn Stafford: A Life in Photography is a bold portrait of a pioneer for female photographers, showcasing her illustrious career in fashion and photojournalism over half a century ago.

After the success of the first edition, the book has been reimagined and overhauled. Now spanning over 250 pages with new and unseen photographs, this book remains the only one to feature Marilyn’s life’s work.

A customer's review of the first edition:

“To all the people responsible for this book – bravo!  Thank you very much.  It is superior work and an outstanding accomplishment.

Thank you for the quality stock that reproduced the pictures so well.  It was worth it!  Thanks to those who digitized the work – great results.  Tacitely engaging with a quality book like this is so refreshing versus a screen!

Wonderful curation, writing, editing throughout. A true project of the heart. Thank you for the rich context, and the small details like a good caption with each picture. All of the different chapters and stories are totally engaging.
The photography – the stories – are beyond anything I can adequately describe. First reading, I had to digest it in small sections, it is so rich.  Now I am studying the individual pictures to really appreciate Marilyn’s craft and vision. Marilyn clearly is in the pantheon of 20th century photographers. I’m so glad I stumbled across that article in The Guardian! The book is a fantastic tribute to and recognition of the great work and wonderful life story of a truly gifted and caring person.”

Marilyn Stafford’s photography career got off to a remarkable start when she was invited to take stills of Albert Einstein. She accumulated an eclectic body of work from 1948 to 1980, including portraits of influential figures such as Twiggy and Henri Cartier-Bresson, as well as fashion photography on the streets of Paris, and photojournalism. She also made work in Italy, Lebanon and India, where, in the early 1970s, she photographed Indira Gandhi, the country’s first and still only woman prime minister. This ignited a long fascination with India, leading to further documentaries of the Ghotul Muria and Warli tribes.

In 1949, Stafford found herself in Paris as fashion was shifting from haute couture to ready-to-wear clothing. Seeing fashion as a more accessible area for women, she began photographing these early off-the-peg collections by Givenchy and Chanel. Stafford preferred to take the models onto the streets of Paris – where the women who actually bought the clothes would parade their luxury. The portraits are a beautiful crossover between high fashion and street photography, offering a unique insight into a Paris of the past.

In her downtime in the French capital, Stafford would ride from one end of a bus route to another, stopping off to make pictures. This was how she discovered the large slum of Cité Lesage-Bullourde, which she photographed extensively before its demolition.

Later in her career, she travelled to Bangladesh and Lebanon, which is where she captured a time of peace in an often misunderstood country. Her images include shopkeepers, fortune-tellers and newlyweds, reflecting a wide variety of Lebanese society.

Marilyn passed away peacefully at her home on 02 January 2023 at the age of 97, surrounded by loved ones. But before that, in 2017, she set up the Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award; a social documentary photography award for women that focuses on positive solutions to social or environmental issues and which is run in collaboration with FotoDocument.

Size: 240x320mm (portrait orientation)
– Cloth-bound hardback with tipped in photograph
– Beautiful tri-tone & CMYK printing from MAS Matbaa, Istanbul
– 256 pages and 350+ images
– Brand new introduction, design and images

You can purchase the book through Bluecoat Press.