Recalling a portrait session with Marilyn Monroe that took place in his studio in May 1957, Avedon said, “For hours she danced and sang and flirted and did this thing that’s—she did Marilyn Monroe.”
via MoMA | Richard Avedon. Marilyn Monroe, actress, New York. May 6, 1957.
And then there was the moment that he caught her off camera…the most telling of all…
as I was a teenage girl I’ve tried to understand what made her the uberfemale, and I think I got to it pretty fast: she was a woman playing a woman. to the maximum. like a glamourous transvestite would do in a show: mimicking the most feminine things in the world, smiling in a most feminine way, speaking and moving, exagerating. and somehow that acting became her. and that’s the tragedy.
Beauty, there’s a spectrum – isn’t there? And, as a actress I think part of her tragedy, besides the failed relationships, exploitation, and the alcohol and pills – was fame. Fame is a reflection. It has almost nothing to do with the person who’s enveloped in it.
everybody has to fight their own demons and when exploitation, societal pressure, fame and drugs come on top…
Damn those demons!
Heather, yes, I know the image you’re referring to – the crash and emptiness after the adrenaline rush of performance, I know it well.
Yes, Heather but if you concentrate on that side then it’s almost implying that the sadness, the melancholy was the most important part of her; I think that the enchantment, the joy, the Marilynness was as true as the concealed pain. When she smiled she looked like a living definition of Happiness and that *spark* was true, too.
Absolutely, Mr. K perfectly said! A unique light in the Universe and when she enjoyed the shine…there has never been anything even close…
The word sounds one part musical one part pharmaceutical, and the effect of his work is something akin to that of both uplifting and curative.
Has Marilyn ever looked so beautiful?
The Perfumed Dandy
Uplifting and later very incisive – an amazing career! The photos from this session are gorgeous.
reading Rex Reed over here and he talks about the same thing that you’ve mentioned before – how the Best ones could just “become themselves” in public and then take off the mask with Ponds Cold Cream.
and probably necessary to stay sane.
although all the ones he mentions that did this didn’t necessarily stay That Sane 😉
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