Eve Arnold was a favourite among Hollywood stars for her sensitive and unobtrusive approach, which allowed her intimate access to their inner worlds. One such subject was Joan Crawford, one of the last great stars of the golden age, whose reputation as a dramatic and hot-headed personality is the stuff of legend. Arnold photographed Crawford on several occasions, over which a close bond formed. Arnold observed that Crawford’s “whole professional life has been one of great concern with her person. It is a commodity which she sells not only to the public but also to herself.”

If a photographer cares about the people before the lens and is compassionate, much is given. It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument

Eve Arnold
© Eve Arnold | Magnum Photos

Eve Arnold was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Russian immigrant parents. She began photographing in 1946, while working at a photo-finishing plant in New York City, and then studied photography in 1948 with Alexei Brodovitch at the New School for Social Research in New York.

Joining Magnum in 1957 as the agency’s first female photographer, Arnold captured some of the most significant individuals and groups of the era. She is well known for her intimate portraits of Marilyn Monroe, with whom she became good friends.

Other signficant projects include her documentation of the Nation of Islam and the black fashion world of 1950s Harlem, as well as her extensive work in China, for which she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Magazine Photographers.

Eve Arnold died in January 2012.

© Eve Arnold | Magnum Photos

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