Eve Arnold was a pioneering photojournalist whose work spanned politics, celebrity and the everyday lives of subjects in countries around the world, from Cuba to Mongolia.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1912, Arnold began taking photographs in New York in 1946, when she was working in a photo-finishing plant. The start of her career coincided with the advent of humanitarian photography, a genre she would later become a figurehead of through her reportage of the civil rights movement, poverty in South Africa and the political prisoners of Soviet Russia.
Arnold was one of the first women to be associated with Magnum, and became a full member in 1957. In 1974 she published her monograph The Unretouched Woman – a book documenting the experience of being a woman, through a woman’s perspective.
Alongside her political work, Arnold was revered for her personal and revealing portraits of silver screen icons – and there are arguably none more iconic than Marilyn Monroe, whom she documented on and off over a decade. Granted access to the set of the 1961 film The Misfits, Arnold shot this image during a particularly turbulent time in Monroe’s life, while she was separating from her husband, the writer Arthur Miller. The film would be Monroe’s last starring role before her death a year later.
Recalling the experience, Arnold said: "At photo sessions [Monroe] was in total control. She manipulated everything – me, the camera. She knew a lot about cameras, and I had never met anyone who could make them respond the way she did.”