In the course of Marilyn Monroe’s career, she had the choice of many photographers to work with. In 1954, she chose Milton H. Greene.
Monroe formed a partnership with Greene that would result in more than 5,000 images taken over the course of three years. They first met in 1953 when he photographed her for LOOK magazine, and they would later form Marilyn Monroe Productions, Inc., together. Monroe even lived with Greene and with his wife Amy and son Joshua at their family home in Connecticut through 1957. Although only a young boy at the time, Joshua Greene recalls happy childhood memories during those years.
These photo sessions are the subject of a new book, The Essential Marilyn Monroe, Milton H. Greene: 50 Sessions. The photos were a collaboration between photographer and muse, a dynamic that shows in the range of photos from posed studio shots to candid photos with other personalities including Marlon Brando, Lawrence Olivier and her husband Arthur Miller.
Among the many gems are a series of photos that also ran in LIFE magazine in the June 3, 1957 issue under the headline “Marilyn in Many Roles.” The second image in the gallery above is an alternative frame from the one that ran in the article. They show her at her playful best, “ransacking the 20th Century Fox costume department with Milton on Sunday afternoons.”
This new collection of 400 images, many never before published images, was made possible by Greene’s son Joshua, who began working on the concept a decade ago.
Speaking to TIME, he explained the meticulous work that went into the restoration of images seen in the book. Milton Greene was a “maverick” in the darkroom, using the tools and techniques of the day to create the final image he was after. Having learned darkroom techniques from his father, Joshua used those skills in the “digital darkroom” to bring the photos to life the way he imagines his father would have wanted them to be viewed.
The Essential Marilyn Monroe, published by ACC editions, is available Friday. A deluxe box edition including signed prints will also be available.
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