Hamish Hamilton, London, 1987
Of our three* Hidden Photobooks with Marilyn Monroe front and centre, this is the finest.
Magnum photographer Eve Arnold (1912-2012) clearly developed a terrific rapport with her subject, Marilyn being very much at ease in her company as can be seen from this collection.
Although she had been photographing Monroe since the early 1950s, it was those photographs taken on the set of “The Misfits” in 1960 which became the most celebrated of their collaborations. The production employed photographers from the sui generis Magnum agency, two at a time for fifteen day shoots (collected in “The Misfits: Story of a Shoot” published by Phaidon in 2000, one of the all-time classic photobooks), though Arnold was deemed so essential to stabilising Monroe’s fluctuating equilibrium on set she remained for two months.
That it would be the final film two of its stars (Monroe, and Clark Gable) would complete before their deaths imbues the whole enterprise with a sadness complementing that already evident in the script itself.
See in particular:
- p. 78 My own personal favourite photograph of Marilyn Monroe (in colour, with Montgomery Clift on the set of “The Misfits”).
- p. 97 Special Collections have a print of this classic image, donated by Eve Arnold herself when she received an honorary degree here in 1997.
When not part of the current display, you can find it here: folio PN2287.M7A8 (language and literature – literature (general) – drama – theater – US – individual biography)
Come along to the Main Library on North Street to take a look for yourself. This book is part of The Hidden Photobooks display which is running from 1 – 30 September and is part of the St Andrews Photography Festival. Everyone is welcome and the event is free. Check out the Library Instagram for photographs Marcus has chosen from his own work to accompany these blog posts.