Thursday, 8 March 2012

Hollywood Icon: Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe continues to capture our attention as the ultimate pin-up girl, she was always flirtatious and loved the camera, as Eve Arnold said, she knew how to use both camera and photographer like anyone else.

How to Marry a Millionaire Premiere in LA, 1953
Michael Ochs Archives/ Getty Images

Getty Images Gallery is celebrating this fascinating woman with an exhibition of unique photographs and memorabilia to commemorate 50 years since her death. Showcasing in London for the first time, the exhibition also features a number of original dresses and costumes worn by the Hollywood icon.

Dress worn by Marilyn in Some Like it Hot
Getty Images Gallery

Marilyn includes imagery from Monroe's early years as an aspiring actress through to her rise to international stardom. Speaking to Eve Arnold about this period of her life, she said "we never had it so good. In those days we had hope."

Beach Belle, circa 1951
Hulton Archive /Getty Images

"She built a character and felt secure with the character so she stayed with it. As long as she believed she was Marylin Monroe, and she wasn't yet, that was fine, she could cope with that, she loved it. When the fantasy became the reality it was no longer tenable for her. She then was fragmented." Eve Arnold

Marilyn Photo Session in Beverly Hills, 1950
Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Her untimely death remains a mystery but in Marylin: The Last Sessions documentary, based on recordings and transcripts from psychoanalyst Ralph Greenson's sessions with Marilyn, it's clear how much she was suffering when the lights went down.   

The Millers Ride Out, 1956 
(Marilyn with her third husband, American dramatist Arthur Miller)
Harold Clements/ Getty Images

But she was also gaining control of her roles after setting up her own production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions, with different projects planned for the future. But we will never know what she could have done with her new found independence. 

Marylin On The Roof, New York, 1955
Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

One thing is certain, she lives on, immortalised by her seductive nature, beauty and talent. Her caressing voice and powerful presence when she sang happy birthday to President Kennedy is a testimony of her extraordinary ability to put on a performance. Who can forget her in Glentlemen Prefer Blondes?

Happy International Womens' Day!

Getty Images Gallery
9 March - 23 May 2012

Other related blog posts:
The Photography of Eve Arnold
V&A Unveils Hollywood Glamour
The Power of a Dress