Marion Palfi (1907-1978)
Marion Palfi was a German American social documentary photographer. Before her apprenticeship at a portrait studio in Berlin, she had a profitable career in modelling and acting. She moved to Amsterdam in 1936, where she opened her own portrait studio. She later emigrated to the U.S. to escape the Nazi army and its racist ideology.
Marion’s passion for photography originated from her strong discontent with discriminatory German politics, which she exposed through her photography to stimulate social change. In New York she continued her work in social documentary photography, addressing crucial issues in American society such as racial injustice against African Americans, Native American living conditions, and poverty. Her most successful works include the project Great American Artists of Minority Groups and Democracy at Work (1945), and her cover photograph for the first issue of Ebony magazine.
Marion’s photobook There is No More Time: An American Tragedy exposed racism in Irwinton, while Suffer Little Children portrayed the condition of disadvantaged children across the U.S. Her goal was to influence and cause a reaction in the viewer; documenting and attending protests for civil rights in Mississippi, Washington, and Selma, Marion dreamt of a world where all people have equal opportunities.