Anna Fárová was born in Paris, France, the daughter of Miloš Šafránek, a Czech diplomat, and his wife Anne Moussu, a French professor. She spent her early childhood in Paris, and the family moved to Plzeň, Czechoslovakia in the mid-1930s. She attended a French gymnasium in Prague, and then went to the Charles University to study art history and aesthetics. In 1952, she married Libor Fára, an artist, with whom she had two daughters. In 1956, she met Henri Cartier-Bresson and began working with his Magnum Photo Agency. She became a pioneering writer on the history of photography and specialized in cataloging Czech and Czechoslovak photographers. She created and organized the first photography collection at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague. After the Communist government banned her work, she signed the Charter 77 manifesto and was dismissed from the museum. Thereafter, much of her work was published outside Czechoslovakia until the fall of communism.