The Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award, facilitated by FotoDocument, is granted annually to a professional woman photographer towards the initiation or completion of a compelling and cohesive documentary photo essay which addresses an important social, environmental, economic or cultural issue, whether local or global. The work should, in part, showcase positive solutions to any issues it raises in order to contribute to constructive photojournalism, in line with the aims of FotoDocument and the wishes of Marilyn Stafford.
L: Marilyn Stafford at work. R: First portrait, Albert Einstein, 1948 © Marilyn Stafford
The Award is reserved solely for documentary photographers working on projects which are intended to make the world a better place and which may be unreported or under-reported. Women from any stage of their careers are welcome to apply, whether emerging, mid-career or established, but they must have completed at least one documentary photo essay to demonstrate track record. Entrants must be over 18, they may be any nationality and based anywhere in the world. It is free to submit your application to FotoDocument.
© Ozge Sebzeci 2018 winner
© Rebecca Conway 2017 winner
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, Marilyn Stafford’s early dreams were for a theatrical career. Her photographic career was accidently launched in New York in 1948 when she was asked to photograph Albert Einstein by friends making a film about him. In the car on the way to Einstein’s home in New Jersey, she was given a camera and a quick lesson in how to use it. From there on, her photographic career took her across the world, starting in Paris in the 1950s. There her friendship and guidance by Magnum founders Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson were instrumental in shaping her work. While completing commissions for a number of Paris fashion houses she also photographed children living in one of the city’s worst slums – Cite Lesage-Boullourde – which was later bulldozed to make way for the Paris Opera Bastille, 1984.
These photographs are featured in her Monograph: “Stories in Pictures – A Photographic Memoir – 1950”. In the early 1960s she travelled widely in Lebanon where she produced the photo book: “Silent Stories – A Photographic Journey Through Lebanon in the Sixties” (Saki Books, London) and in India where she spent many weeks documenting the country’s first woman Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi.
She settled in England in the mid-sixties, where she was one of a handful of women photographers working on Fleet Street.
Stafford’s work spans from 1948 – 1980 and covers a variety of subjects including refugees, tribal peoples, international fashion and prominent historical figures. Her portraits include Edith Piaf, Alberto Moravia, Italo Calvino, Lee Marvin, Joanna Lumley, Sir Richard Attenborough among others.
Her work has been exhibited all over the world and is syndicated through Sipa press, Paris and Camera Press, London.
Working as a reportage photographer in a largely male industry, Stafford personally experienced how difficult it was for women to balance career and family, especially when each opportunity was hard won. She recognises that this difficulty still exists for women in the industry today and with the launch of this Award she hopes to help redress the balance.