EVE ARNOLD, Marilyn Monroe on the set of The Misfits in Nevada , 1960; 16 x 20 in., platinum / palladium print, Edition of 10. Printed by Chris McCaw © Eve Arnold / Magnum Photos.
Eve Arnold was assigned to document the making of John Houston’s The Misfits, filmed on location in and around Reno, Nevada. The film starred Arnold’s friend and muse Marilyn Monroe in her last screen appearance and was written by Monroe’s then-husband playwright Arthur Miller. In this photograph Arnold captured Monroe, enveloped in thought, preparing for the film’s final scenes, against the stark and lonely desert landscape. Perhaps Arnold’s most iconic photograph, all of its formal elements masterfully reflect the themes of this brooding, existential film. Arnold recalls the special relationship she and Monroe shared: “She trusted me. The bond between us was photography. She liked my pictures and was canny enough to realize that they were a fresh approach for presenting her--a looser, more intimate look than the posed studio portraits she was used to in Hollywood. By seeing her through photographs, the only way most people ever saw her, it may be possible to get some idea of how she saw herself and perhaps to glean some insight into the phenomenon that was Marilyn Monroe.”