Born on April 21, 1912 — 103 years ago today — Magnum photographer Eve Arnold was best known for her iconic photographs of Marilyn Monroe, made from the early 1950s all the way to 1961 on the set of the movie star’s final film, The Misfits.
Arnold’s career, however, wasn’t limited to Monroe. She photographed politicians, musicians, artists; celebrities such as Malcolm X, Joan Crawford, Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman and Jacqueline Kennedy. She traveled the world from China, Mongolia and the Soviet Union, to Cuba, South Africa and Afghanistan.
“Arnold’s life was extraordinary,” write Susan Meiselas of the Magnum Foundation and Andrew Lewin, the managing editor of the new series of books called Magnum Legacy: Lives Behind Photographs.
The Legacy series is an initiative that aims to “examine past and present Magnum photographers through the prism of their lives and their archives,” Meiselas and Lewin explain in an introduction to the first book, which is dedicated to Arnold’s career. “This is the first study of her work that relies on her diaries, letters and other archival materials more than on personal reminiscences and anecdotes,” they add. “The book reveals a new perspective of Arnold as she transformed herself from a Long Island housewife in the early 1950s to a seasoned photojournalist for the London Sunday Times and other international magazines.”
The authors seek to provide a window into Arnold’s life — she died on Jan. 4, 2012 — as well as her photography, “as a way to explore the interrelationship between the two.”
Additional books, published by Prestel, will follow in 2016, highlighting the work of photographers Bruce Davidson, Inge Morath and Josef Koudelka.
Magnum Legacy: Lives Behind Photographs – Eve Arnold by Janine di Giovanni is available now.