Marilyn Stafford Obituary, Death – In remembrance of and as a monument to this nearly unknown pioneer who was also a prize-winning photographer, who passed away in January at the age of 97. Marilyn Stafford celebrated her 90th year by holding a modest exhibition of her paintings in the Tom Foolery café in Shoreham, West Sussex. The café is named after her. Customers were astonished to find candid images of notable figures such as
Albert Einstein, Édith Piaf, and Indira Gandhi, as well as documentary photographs of refugees in north Africa and fashion shoots on the streets of Paris in the 1950s and Swinging London in the 1960s. This little-known occurrence was the catalyst for her recognition as one of the most influential female photographers working throughout the middle of the 20th century. It also resulted in multiple exhibitions being held in Britain and other countries, as well as
the release in 2021 of a large book titled Marilyn Stafford: A Life in Photography, which showcases her work. She stated at a later time, “I never in my wildest dreams thought those images that were under the bed or in shoe boxes that my cat was sitting on would ever see the light of day again.” The majority of my work was done on commission, so once it was taken, it was considered to have fulfilled its purpose, and it was then filed away for good.
Marilyn Jean Gerson was born in the year 1925 in Cleveland, Ohio. Her father, Maurice Gerson, was a prosperous pharmacist in the city at the time. Marilyn’s family, like other families in the middle class, had a Brownie box camera, and she enjoyed shooting pictures of her family and the environment in which they lived. She recalled the first shot she ever took, which was of a family picnic beside a stream, in an interview that was broadcast on BBC TV.
It was incredibly clear water that was flowing over pebbles, and I was standing in it as I watched the water flow over the stones while feeling very emotional about the experience. I couldn’t shake the sensation that this moment should be etched in my memory forever. Dorothy, Marilyn’s mother, urged her daughter to take part in performances at the Cleveland Play House, which was the first professional regional theater in the United States when Marilyn was still a little kid. She joined the children’s ensemble the Curtain Pullers, which also included Paul Newman and Joel Grey, during the time that she was young. Later on, Stafford revealed that her mother had hoped that she would become the next Judy Garland, but that she was unsuccessful in gaining a role in an acting audition in which she was required to recite the phrase “Bring that man to me.”