Born in Chicago, Yampolsky (1925 – 2002) emigrated to Mexico in the 1940′s and became a Mexican citizen in 1954. She participated in the Taller de Gráfica Popular, an important cooperative workshop of printers and graphic artists dedicated to social and political issues. Ultimately, she became the first woman member of the studio’s executive committee.
Initially a print maker, Mariana Yampolsky turned to photography in 1948 and went on to become one of Mexico’s greatest photographers, utilizing photography to capture the diginity and cultural heritage of Mexico’s indigenous people.
Photography like engraving, was to Yampolsky, an art form that was to be celebrated because of its accessibility to the masses. She spent years focusing her work on Mexican popular culture and traditions, publishing art books, curating exhibitions and at one point, contributing to the natural science textbooks published by the government. The range of subjects she photographed included not only the people and rituals of indigenous Mexico, but the symbols, living and constructed, that figured in daily life. Her photographs would become a source of considerable inspiration for the Mexican women photographers Graciela Iturbide and Flor Garduño.