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Eve Arnold began photographing Marilyn Monroe after the actress saw her pictures of Marlene Dietrich in Esquire. They met at a party and Monroe asked: “If you could do that well with Marlene, can you imagine what you can do with me?” So began their professional relationship, which, over the years, turned into friendship. Arnold photographed Monroe six times over the decade she knew her; the longest of these sessions being a two-month stint during the filming of The Misfits.
Arnold noted Monroe’s fragile state during the production: “My most poignant memory of Marilyn is of how distressed, troubled and still radiant she looked when I arrived in Nevada to work on The Misfits.” Despite on-set smiles, the superstar actress was unwell, confiding in the photographer at one point: “I’ve been dancing for six months. I’ve had no rest, I’m exhausted. Where do I go from here?” Monroe would die less than a year after the completion of filming. Known for getting behind her subjects’ often polished exteriors, Arnold’s portraits of Monroe from this time hinted at turbulence beneath a veneer of collected calm.