The photographer Eve Arnold has died aged 99

06 January 2012 by

Eve Arnold, the photographer who was most famous for her strikingly informal images of Marilyn Monroe has died three months before her 100th Birthday. 

Arnold was born in Philadelphia in 1912 but moved to London in the 1960s, where she lived in the same Mayfair flat for forty years. Her photographic agency, Magnum, of which she was the first female member in 1957, announced yesterday ‘with great sadness’ that the photographer had ‘passed away peacefully’ on Wednesday.

Although Arnold was much more than a celebrity photographer she became best known for her decade long collaboration with Marilyn Monroe. In an interview in the Observer, Arnold said that when they first met ‘we were two young women starting out in this quite male world, so we just played together, had the most fun we could.’ Arnold’s images of Monroe – of her brushing her hair in an airport mirror, or leaning out of a car window on set - cemented not only Monroe’s iconic status, but also Arnold’s reputation as a photographer who was able, as a woman, to capture images that her male contemporaries were not.

As a photojournalist, Arnold was as interested in photographing the poor and dispossessed as she was in capturing the egos of film stars. The photographer’s last pictures, in the late 1990s, were taken in Cuba on a return trip to the island. In 2002 she described the experience by saying ‘about five years ago I went to Cuba to photograph a woman I had photographed when she was about eight. She lived on the beach then, in terrible conditions, and she drew me a picture of the house she would have liked, in the sand. Well, that little elfin-like child had become this big impressive woman, with that house, not far from the beach. And I loved doing that story, and it seemed to me to be a good place to end, a happy ending’.

Click through the gallery above to see some of our favourite Eve Arnold photographs.


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