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May 3, 2014

Beautiful Black and White Photos of Marilyn Monroe Taken by Richard Avedon in 1957

Richard Avedon, born in New York City in 1923, is one of the most respected and accomplished photographers of the 20th century. Upon his death in 2004 The New York Times said “his fashion and portrait photographs helped define America’s image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century.”

It’s therefore not surprising that Avedon’s definition of a nation’s culture includes a series of both vibrant and artistic portraits of one of the most photographed American women of the 20th century, Marilyn Monroe.

On the 6th of May 1957, Richard Avedon worked for over four hours in his New York studio on a series of publicity portraits with Marilyn. Marilyn seemed to be at her most beautiful; happy, newly married and recently returned from England after completing filming for ‘The Prince and the Showgirl.’ The shots from this session were to be used in a publicity campaign to help promote the film, due for release in July of the same year.

“For hours she danced and sang and flirted and did this thing that’s—she did Marilyn Monroe,” Avedon said. “And then there was the inevitable drop. And when the night was over and the white wine was over and the dancing was over, she sat in the corner like a child, with everything gone. I saw her sitting quietly without expression on her face, and I walked towards her but I wouldn’t photograph her without her knowledge of it. And as I came with the camera, I saw that she was not saying no.”


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