When you think of Eve Arnold, your mind automatically jumps to the haunting and endearing pictures of Marilyn Monroe captured by her. No doubt Marilyn Monroe was a photographer’s delight but Arnold’s pictures of this enigmatic diva have a completely different quality about them. Where many focused on her sexual appeal, Arnold showed the world Marilyn’s tenderness, vulnerability and childlike quality. Undoubtedly, few before Arnold had tried to explore this side to Marilyn’s personality.
When you look at Eve Arnold’s impressive profile and the slate of awards and honors that were bestowed upon her, you cannot imagine that photography as a career happened to her by chance. In fact, Arnold had hopes of being either a dancer or a photographer. Imagine what the world would have missed had she gone down any of those roads. Then again, they might have gained something equally spectacular as well.
Born in Philadelphia in 1913, Arnold’s photography career started in New York in 1946. The quality of her work caught the eye of Robert Capa, head of the most prestigious and well known international cooperative of photographers, Magnum Photos. By joining this group Arnold became their first ever American woman member.
Affiliated with well-known magazines and publications, such as Vogue, Life, Paris Match, the Sunday Times, and the Stern, her job took her all over the world, including Europe, India, Afghanistan, Chine, USSR, and South America. Among the celebrities she has worked with are Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, the Queen of England, Malcolm X, and Richard Nixon.
In addition to capturing the famous and influential in the best moments of their life, Arnold also photographed issues related to the common man, including tragedy and racial prejudices. On one of her assignments, she covered the apartheid in South Africa and in another the life of women behind veils in Afghanistan, Abu Dhabi, and Egypt.
Eve Arnold has published eleven books, organized countless exhibitions in Britain and abroad, and received innumerable honors and awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Magazine Photographers, National Book Award, an honorary O.B.E by the British Government, and the Kranzna-Krausz Book Award.
She was presented with a fellowship to the Royal Photographic Society and New York’s International Centre of Photography elected her as the ‘Master Photographer’. Last year in April, Sony World Photography Awards bestowed the Lifetime Achievement Award, just a day after her 98th birthday.