Eve Arnold began photographing while working at a photo-finishing plant in New York City in 1946. In 1954, Arnold's fresh quality and intelligent choice of subject matter brought her to the attention of Robert Capa, the head of Magnum Photos, the prestigious international cooperative of photographers. Capa invited her to join the group, and she became its first American woman member. Her mastery of the colour processes and techniques popular in the 50s was extensive and assured, although she worked for preference in black-and-white.
Arnold became a star photographer for Life magazine during its heyday, capturing public figures such as Senator Joseph McCarthy and General Eisenhower at revealingly unguarded moments. She had a special affinity with Marilyn Monroe, whom she met when both were relatively unknown. "She was going places but she hadn't arrived," Arnold recalled. "It became a bond between us... Marilyn was very important in my career. I think I was helpful in hers."
She was based in America during the 1950s and came to England in 1962 to put her son to school at Bedales. Except for a six year hiatus, (when she worked in America and China to prepare a book on each of those countries), Eve Arnold has been based in Britain.
Following her photography of China, she had her first major solo exhibition of her China work at the Brooklyn Museum in 1980. That same year, she received the National Book Award for her book In China.
She was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Magazine Photographers in 1980. In 1995 she was made a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and was elected "Master Photographer" - the world's most prestigious photographic honor - awarded by New York's International Center of Photography.
In 1996 she was the recipient of the Kraszna-Krausz Book Award for her book In Retrospect.
In 1997 Eve was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from Staffordshire University, as well as the degree Doctor of Humanities from Richmond, the American International University in London.
The same year she was appointed a member of the Advisory Committee of the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television in Bradford.
In 2003, she was awarded an honorary O.B.E. (Order of the British Empire) by the British Government.
Arnold also captured the lives of ordinary people, exploring such themes as birth, family, tragedy and racial prejudice. In the early 1960s, Arnold moved to London to work on the newly launched Sunday Times colour magazine. In addition to photographing statesmen and showbiz celebrities, she also made a photographic record of the status of women around the world.
Eve Arnold has published eleven books and has had innumerable exhibitions, both in Britain and abroad:
The Unretouched Woman, 1976
Flashback: The 50's, 1978
In China, 1980
In America, 1983
Marilyn for Ever, 1987
Marilyn Monroe. An Appreciation. Photographs and text by Eve Arnold. 1987
Private View: Inside Baryshnikov's American Ballet Theatre, 1988
All in a Day's Work. Photographs by Eve Arnold - 1989
The Great British, 1991
In Retrospect, 1995
Magna Brava: Magnum's Women Photographers (with Inge Morath, Susan Meiselas, Martine Franck, and Marilyn Silverstone), Nov. 1999
"I found myself in the privileged position of photographing somebody who I had first thought had a gift for the camera, but who turned out had a genius for it."
Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962).
Marilyn Monroe personified Hollywood glamour with her unparalleled glow and an energy that enamoured the world. Although she was an alluring beauty with voluptuous curves and a generous pout, Marilyn was more than a '50s sex goddess. She dominated the age of movie stars to become, without question, the most famous woman of the twentieth century.
Marilyn was born Norma Jeane Mortenson on 1 June 1926 in Los Angeles, California. She was the daughter of Gladys Baker, but the identity of her father was not clear and she was later baptized Norma Jeane Baker.
In 1944, Norma Jeane took a job on the assembly line at the Radio Plane Munitions factory in Burbank, California. Several months later, photographer David Conover saw her while taking pictures of women contributing to the war effort for Yank magazine. He couldn't believe his luck. She was a photographer's dream. Conover used her for the shoot and began sending modelling jobs her way. The camera loved Norma Jeane, and within two years she was a reputable model with many popular magazine covers to her credit. She enrolled in drama classes and dreamed of stardom.
Norma Jeane signed her first studio contract with Twentieth Century Fox on 26 August 1946, who paid her $125 a week. Soon after, Norma Jeane dyed her hair blonde and changed her name to Marilyn Monroe (borrowing her grandmother's last name). The rest, as the saying goes, is history.
Marilyn's first movie role was a bit part in The Shocking Miss Pilgrim, made in 1947. She played a series of inconsequential characters until 1950, when John Huston's thriller The Asphalt Jungle provided her with a small but key role. Later that year, Marilyn's performance as Claudia Caswell in All About Eve earned her further praise. Her performance in Niagara, made in 1953, was the one that brought her stardom. Marilyn's consolidated her success with lead roles in the wildly-popular Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire. Photoplay magazine voted Marilyn the Best New Actress of 1953, and by the age of 27 she was undeniably the best-loved blonde bombshell in Hollywood.
On 14 January 1954 Marilyn married baseball superstar Joe DiMaggio. During their Tokyo honeymoon, Marilyn performed for the service men stationed in Korea. Her presence caused a near-riot among the troops, and Joe was clearly uncomfortable with thousands of men ogling his new bride. Unfortunately, Marilyn's fame and sexual image became a theme that haunted their marriage. Nine months later, on 27 October, Marilyn and Joe divorced. They attributed the split to a conflict of careers, and remained close friends.
Marilyn wanted to pursue a serious acting career and moved to New York City to study under Lee Strasberg at his Actors’ Studio. In 1956 she started her own movie company, Marilyn Monroe Productions. The company produced Bus Stop and The Prince and the Showgirl. These two films allowed her to demonstrate her talent and versatility as an actress. Marilyn received further recognition for Some Like It Hot, made in 1959, for which she won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy.
On 29 June 1956, Marilyn married the playwright Arthur Miller. During their marriage, Arthur wrote the part of Roslyn Taber in The Misfits especially for Marilyn. The movie co-starred Clark Gable and Montgomery Clift. The marriage between Marilyn and Arthur ended on 20 January 1961, and The Misfits was Marilyn's (and Gable's) last completed film.
At the 1962 Golden Globes, Marilyn was named female World Film Favourite, once again demonstrating her widespread appeal.
On the morning of 5 August 1962, 36-year-old Marilyn died in her sleep at her Brentwood, California home. The world was stunned. On 8 August 1962, Marilyn was buried in the Corridor of Memories at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California.
During her career, Marilyn made 30 films and left one, Something's Got to Give, unfinished. She was more than just a movie star or glamour queen. A global sensation in her lifetime, Marilyn's popularity has extended beyond star status to icon. Today, the name Marilyn Monroe is synonymous with beauty, sensuality and effervescence. She remains an inspiration to all who strive to overcome personal obstacles and aim for the goal of greatness.