Eve Arnold, the American photographer famous for her portraits of Marilyn Monroe, has died aged 99. She was due to turn 100 in April.
Born in Philadelphia in 1912, Arnold went on to become the first North American woman to join the famous Magnum Photos agency and became a leading photographer for Life magazine and The Sunday Times where she cemented her place as one of the industry's most revered figures of the 20th century.
Although she was also highly accomplished in fashion photography and travelled through Russia, China, South Africa and Afghanistan as a photojournalist, it was Arnold's portraits of subjects are varied as New York bartenders, Cuban fishermen and Afghan nomads; celebrities such as Joan Crawford and Elizabeth Taylor; and political figures including Jacqueline Kennedy, Malcolm X and Margaret Thatcher.
In particular she will be remembered for her iconic series capturing 50s movie siren Monroe, whom she photographer in a variety of intimate scenes from 1951 right up until the time of her final movie, The Misfits, in 1961.
In 1980 Arnold received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Magazine Photographers and had her first solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in New York. In 1995, she was made a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, and elected Master Photographer by New York's International Center of Photography. Her work is in major museum collections around the world including the National Portrait Gallery in London.
Arnold, whose ability to win the trust of her subjects was the basis of so much of her best work, once said: "If the photographer is interested in the people in front of his lens, and if he is compassionate, it's already a lot. The instrument is not the camera but the photographer."
As the world reacts to the news of Eve Arnold's death, newspapers and website have been scrambling to pay honour to grand dame of photography.
Magnum Photos, the elite international photography cooperative which Eve Arnold joined as the first ever North American woman in 1951, have a peerless collection of Arnold’s photos, including her photojournalistic work and famous celebrity portraits.
Meanwhile the Guardian are running a piece by Beeban Kidron who served as Arnold’s apprentice when she was 16. Her memories of her mentor include recollection of her professionalism and sense of humour: “She was an early adopter of colour – favouring a thick negative with rich hues and simple compositions – and she ruthlessly edited her own work with a wicked sense of humour. "It's not that we're so great, it's that the others are so fucking mediocre."
One of the best obituaries for Eve Arnold can found over on the New York Times. A highlight recalls the time Arnold photographed a naked Joan Crawford, but agreed never to release the snaps. “She won the trust of stars by treating them with unusual courtes,” writes Douglas Marin. “A few days later, over lunch, Ms. Arnold handed the negatives to Ms. Crawford, assuring her that they would never be published. Ms. Crawford thanked her by allowing her to do a day-in-the-life photo feature about her. The pictures, which appeared in Life, are an up-close study of an aging star coping with her fading beauty — applying makeup, for instance, and struggling with that girdle.”
Carrying an excellent and in depth account of Arnold’s remarkable professional career is the Telegraph. They write how, during her brief spell as a photography student in 1948, she ventured into a black fashion show in Harlem, New York at a time when magazines in America wouldn’t publish photos of black people: “As no American magazine of the period would publish photographs of black people, Eve Arnold’s husband sent her pictures to Britain — to his friend Tom Hopkinson, the editor of Picture Post. The pictures were printed but the text changed, so that its tone was snide. Henceforth, vowed Arnold, everything she wanted to say would be in the photograph.”
Twitter tributes to Eve Arnold have been pouring in:
See some of Eve Arnold's best photographs here:
Pictures from Eve Arnold's forthcoming book 'All About Eve - The Photography of Eve Arnold' published by teNeues Verla.
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