Unmistakably Marilyn: "The Exhibition Explores How the Power of Photography Helped Transmute the Shy Norma Jeane into the Most Iconic Screen Goddess of All Time-The Myth That Is Marilyn Monroe."

USA TODAY, January 2005 | Go to article overview

Unmistakably Marilyn: "The Exhibition Explores How the Power of Photography Helped Transmute the Shy Norma Jeane into the Most Iconic Screen Goddess of All Time-The Myth That Is Marilyn Monroe."


I WANNA BE LOVED BY YOU: Photographs of Marilyn Monroe from the Leon and Michaela Constantiner Collection," which includes 200 photos of actress Marilyn Monroe by 39 photographers, presents portraits dating from 1945, when Monroe (then Norma Jeane Baker) was 19 years old, to images taken just a few weeks before her death in 1962 at the age of 36.

The collection can be viewed as a virtual who's who of photographers of the postwar period, and includes a unique series of 59 images shot by Bert Stern in 1962, titled "The Last Sitting." Behind-the-scenes photographs, pictures that capture private moments, and documentary footage of the actress during many periods of her career also are featured. Among the photographers whose work is displayed are Eve Arnold, Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Cornell Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andre de Dienes, Robert Frank, Milton Greene, Phillipe Halsman, Arthur "Weegee" Felig, George Zimbel, Gary Winogrand, and Ben Ross.

This extensive collection does not focus on any particular style or photographer. Instead, it is based on a love for Monroe and an appreciation of her beauty, talent, and sensitivity. Among the more unusual photos is an image by Beaton titled "Marilyn Monroe Holding a Carnation" that belonged to Monroe herself; a nude photograph, "Red Marilyn" (1949), by Tom Kelly that was used as the centerfold for the first issue of Playboy magazine; a revealing collection of contact sheets by Stem and Earl Leaf; a rare image of the starlet by Lawrence Schiller taken during her final, unfinished film, "Something's Got to Give"; and shots by three different photographers taken at the same time during the famous "Seven Year Itch" shoot--the one where her skirt is blown upward while she is standing on a subway grate. …

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