Ed Feingersh

Marilyn Candid Moment

About this photograph

Almost 50 years after her death, the myth of Marilyn lives on. Even if her filmography is not widely known, in particular by the younger generations, Marilyn Monroe is universally recognized and admired as a sex-symbol. An icon of glamour, the actress and singer has been photographed many times. At the same time a Hollywood artefact, woman-child and femme fatale, her life and especially her death fuel the mystery surrounding Marilyn and continue to fascinate. These numerous photographs continue to circulate today and certain images have become emblematic. A whole realm of other images exists, much less known by the general public. Marilyn Monroe appears much less prepared in them and, even if some of these photographs remain contrived, the actress is no longer posing. Conceived as stolen photographs, a young woman's everyday life is observed, a far cry from Hollywood glamour. In spring 1955, the photographer Ed Feingersh followed Marilyn Monroe wherever she went in New York. The photographs Candid moment and Motion Picture Daily were taken in a suite at the Ambassador Hotel. Comfortably settled on her sofa, the actress is absorbed by her book. She appears to be unaware of the photographer's presence. Naturally beautiful and elegant, Marilyn Monroe continued to soak up the limelight. However, these photographs also reveal a woman indifferent to the image that she reflects. The photographs of Marilyn Monroe reading were created at the request of the actress herself. Suffering from an intellectual inferiority complex, she undertook a literature and history of art course at university in 1951 and took to reading great world literature classics. Finally having taken control of her career, from then on she wanted to have the final say about her image and contradict the photographs of the beautiful featherbrained blond.Michael Ochs Archives Collection, Getty Images

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The artist
Ed Feingersh

Photographer for the magazine Redbook (women’s magazine), Ed Feingersh followed Marilyn Monroe to New York in spring 1955. These photographic sessions, requiring 7 days’ work, immortalize the star in ordinary places, a far cry from Hollywood studio glamour.

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