Eve Arnold’s Life Re-Examined Through Her Photographs

2 minute read

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.

USA. New York. New York City. US Actress Marilyn MONROE at the premiere of 'East of Eden'. 1950.
Marilyn Monroe at premiere of 'East of Eden', New York, 1955.Eve Arnold—Magnum
USA. New York City. Times Square. Clothing shop advertisment. 1950
Times Square, New York, 1950.Eve Arnold—Magnum
HAITI. The American drug companies tested Milltown, an early tranquilzer experiment at this asylum. 1954.
Haiti insane asylum. 1954.Eve Arnold—Magnum
G.B. ENGLAND. London. Knightsbridge. One of four girls sharing an apartment. 1961.
Bathroom, from the essay " Three Girls in Search of a Fourth, " Knightsbridge, London, 1961.Eve Arnold—Magnum
G.B.IRELAND. Angelica Huston at age sixteen. 1968.
Anjelica Huston at age sixteen, 1968. Eve Arnold—Magnum
G.B. ENGLAND. Nottinghamshire. Kelham. Father Gregory Wilkins, Director of the society of the sacred mission at Kelham. 1963.
Father Gregory Wilkins, director of the Society of the Sacred Mission at Kelham, Nottinghamshire, England, 1963.Eve Arnold—Magnum
CHINA. Retired woman. 1979.
Retired woman, China 1979.Eve Arnold—Magnum
USA. Hollywood. Joan Crawford. 1959.
Joan Crawford checking her makeup, Hollywood, 1959.Eve Arnold—Magnum

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