Born on September 6, 1925 in Chicago Illinois to a Russian father and a German Mother. She studied art at the University of Chicago while also attending the Art Institute of Chicago where she met Maz Kahn and Eleonor Coen who introduce her to the Mexican Muralist Movement and the surge of graphic arts in Mexico at that time. In 1944, after finishing her studies and excited about the tales from her friends she moves to Mexico City where she enrolls in the Esmeralda School of Art. She also becomes the first woman member at the Taller de Grafica Popular where she works with Alfredo Zalce, Pablo O'higgins, Leopoldo Mendez and others.
In 1948, she starts working with photography when she uses the camera to help her with her prints. She purchased her first camera from Manuel Alvarez Bravo and she got her formal training from Lola Alvarez Bravo at the Academia de San Carlos. In 1964 she worked with Leopoldo Mendez traveling the country to document the work, customs and lives of important artisans and folk artists. Three years later they were to compile their work in the series of books "Lo Efimero y lo Eterno del Arte Popular Mexicano" that was finally published by the Fondo Editorial de la Plastica Mexicana in 1971. She has presented her work in individual exhibitions since 1976 in Mexico, Great Brittain, Italy, Switzerland and the US. Mariana Yampolsky died on May 3, 2002 in Mexico City. Her work is still a vigorous account of a Mexican life that she captured with unparalleled elegance, respect, creativity and dramatic tension.