Marilyn Monroe, born Norma Jeane Mortenson, bore a heavy weight as the archetypal sex symbol of the 1950s and ’60s. Her highs and lows have all become legend: her high-profile marriages and splits from baseballer Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller; her secret affair and birthday-cake serenade with then-president John F. Kennedy; and her final, turbulent years before her early death from barbiturate overdose at age 36. Less discussed has been her bold decision to disrupt the film industry by co-founding her own production company, as well as her attempts to command agency over her own image.

Countless renowned photographers sought to capture the “real” Monroe, and she knew the power that the camera held. Today, we’re more aware that our favorite celebrities maintain a carefully crafted public image, but Monroe’s enigma still fascinates us. “There was no such person as Marilyn Monroe,” Richard Avedon once said of her. “[She was] invented, like an author creates a character.” – Read the full article – Artsy

Philippe Halsman – Celebrities didn’t often sit for Philippe Halsman; instead, they jumped. Following each shoot with the photographer, he would ask them to take a leap of faith in front of the camera, believing that moment of suspension to be their most open and true. Monroe acquiesced, as all celebrities, artists, and royals did under Halsman’s lens, and she jumped high, legs tucked and grinning… – Read more here

Garry Winogrand – Garry Winogrand’s oeuvre has been defined by his quote that “all things are photographable.” In capturing all the minutiae of New York City’s streets for three decades, he chronicled a much larger snapshot of a changing America. He also crystallized iconic moments, and one of his rolls of film included the most recreated New York moments of all time: Monroe holding her white dress down, her head thrown back in laughter, as the wind from a subway grate blows her skirt up… – Read more here

Richard Avedon – When Monroe sat for Richard Avedon in 1957, it was a meeting of two creative powerhouses who would each become iconic in their respective fields. Avedon was working as a staff photographer for Harper’s Bazaar, and Monroe had just successfully out-maneuvered 20th Century Fox in a contract victory that gave her more direction over her projects… – Read more here

Eve Arnold – During a time when few women had access to the editorial and photojournalism worlds, Eve Arnold was the first woman to be admitted to the storied photo agency Magnum Photos. She was also one of the only women to photograph Monroe…– Read more here

Douglas Kirkland – Douglas Kirkland recalls his shoot with Monroe like something out of a fantasy: He was the small-town twentysomething photographer, and she was the self-assured vixen. According to Kirkland, the actress requested Frank Sinatra records and Dom Pérignon, and asked all other set members to leave. Kirkland told WWD in 2017 that the shoot in 1961 “got very sexually charged.” Whatever the case, his images did contribute to her bombshell image, as she rolled around in an unmade bed and Kirkland leaned over a loft balcony to capture the scene…– Read more here

Lawrence Schiller – The ill-fated film Something’s Got to Give (1962) never finished production after Monroe was fired from the starring role, and it was abandoned entirely after she died. Lawrence Schiller’s behind-the-scenes images, which first titillated the world, became a tragic ode to the end of her life…– Read more here

Bert Stern – Just six weeks before her death, Monroe sat for advertising and fashion photographer Bert Stern, who was on assignment for Vogue. The actress held sheer Vera Neumann scarves against her bare torso and pink oversized roses against her breasts. She wore nothing but white sheets in bed, then exchanged that for an elegant black Dior evening gown. It was the last time she would ever model. Even without the finality of the shoot, the photographs would have caused a sensation. The teasing and carefree flow of the photos belied a darker undercurrent, one inextricably colored with morbidity. Stern’s images have cemented themselves in pop culture… – Read more here

Milton H. Greene – Milton H. Greene was Monroe’s friend and confidant, as well as her business partner for her production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions (MMP). Greene shot for all the top publications, like LifeHarper’s Bazaar,and Vogue, and began working with Monroe while on assignment for Look. Under his lens, her personality shone through, and she is often shown in the real world, rather than the vacuum of a studio set. In one image, she’s half-submerged in a pool, hair wet and makeup absent, her smile hidden but her eyes effervescent… – Read more here