She brought a narrative eye and a social consciousness to her work, whether covering refugee crises, celebrities or fashion. But much of it might have been lost.
Marilyn Stafford’s journey from aspiring Broadway singer and actress to noted photojournalist and fashion photographer started with a drive to New Jersey and a spasm of fear.
One morning in 1948, Ms. Stafford, who was 23, was tagging along with two friends who were driving to the home of Albert Einstein in Princeton, N.J., to make a short documentary about him and his views, as one of history’s greatest physicists, on the dawning of atomic weapons. On the car ride down, one of the friends handed Ms. Stafford a 35-millimeter camera and asked her to take some stills between takes. “I’d never used one before, and I went into a panic,” she recalled in a 2021 interview.
There was little to worry about, it turned out.