Ansel met Marie for the first time in a creative photography workshop in Yosemite in 1961 and always held her in high regard. I met her in 1963 and have been friends ever since. She was good friends with Dr. Land, who asked her to make his official portrait (an honor) and Ansel, who recommended her to Dr. Land and invited her to teach at the workshops in Yosemite and stay with them in Carmel. April 18th I visited her and we went to Fitchburg State College an hour outside Boston, where she gave a very interesting lecture and happily showed slides of her work, replete with anecdotes.
Marie’s early life was in a poor immigrant family with her parents from Greece and living in South Boston in a small apartment. She was very tidy and organized, sure of herself and had elegant style, some of which might have been inspired by her fashion advertising work at Helene Rubenstein (where she wore designer clothes and was chauffeured around in limousines) and her appreciation of art history and perhaps the graceful draping of marble statues in early Greece. Her command of color was unsurpassed and she developed her own techniques in the experimental use of Polaroid color, developing it longer which made the color cooler, but she had anticipated that and warmed it with filters. Light always fascinated her, especially where light was coming from. She blended tungsten light and ambiant light in her portraits of people, flowers, vegetables, sculpture, masks — whatever her subject was, after enhancing the stage set with props carefully selected and arranged. Everyone will focus on her photography. So, I am mentioning some of her quiet, sure, command and style personally. She succeeded as a woman artist in a time it was nearly impossible.
I have also always admired Marie for over-coming obstacles and succeeding so surely.
She was so dyslexic that she read to her siblings by turning the book upside down, so when she looked into a camera’s ground glass, everything for her was right-side-up. A severe obstacle became an asset. Her back was severely malformed and she had to undergo many surgeries and rods and replacements and pain, and carried on, walked, got around, worked, and lived independently, was delightful and energetic when we were together in April, even late when I was dropped off at Alison’s home in Cambridge. She lived fully from 1923 to May 25, 2017, and passed on at the age of 93 (age was never disclosed!).