Daily Picture Show

Remembering Monroe In Monochrome

Yesterday marked the anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death. On Aug. 5, 1962, Monroe's psychoanalyst found her dead in her bedroom, her body full of barbiturates. The cause of her death, whether suicide or murder, is shrouded in mystery. In fact, much is unknown about her private life; but in the public eye, Monroe was one of America's most beloved actresses — and a muse to countless photographers.

  • Monroe reading in her New York home, 1955
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    Monroe reading in her New York home, 1955
    Ed Feingersh
  • Feingersh makes an appearance in one of his photographs — a reflection of Monroe in a fitting room, 1955.
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    Feingersh makes an appearance in one of his photographs — a reflection of Monroe in a fitting room, 1955.
  • Monroe, dressed down and unposed, peers through a window, 1955.
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    Monroe, dressed down and unposed, peers through a window, 1955.
    Ed Feingersh
  • Monroe gazes at the streets of her new home, New York City, 1955.
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    Monroe gazes at the streets of her new home, New York City, 1955.
    Ed Feingersh
  • Feingersh's photographs show a more intimate side of Monroe. The iconic "skirt blowing" scene, on the other hand, was captured by several photographers in 1954 — the year before Monroe moved to New York.
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    Feingersh's photographs show a more intimate side of Monroe. The iconic "skirt blowing" scene, on the other hand, was captured by several photographers in 1954 — the year before Monroe moved to New York.
    Garry Winogrand

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Photographer Ed Feingersh, for one, captured Monroe during a period of transformation. In 1955, she left Hollywood, broke her contract with 20th Century Fox and moved to New York in pursuit of a more serious acting career. With the aim of reshaping her public image, Feingersh was hired to shadow the actress for a week in New York. Uninterested in the posed, pinup style of Hollywood, Feingersh took a documentary approach, photographing Monroe doing everyday things.

His grainy, natural monochromes remain some of the most memorable. They cover a mere week of her life. But a real, vulnerable Monroe seems to peek through the Hollywood veneer of glamour and sensuality. Feingersh's photos show a complexity that might illuminate, in a morose way, Monroe's death.

These photos, and a few by acclaimed street photographer Garry Winogrand, go on display this weekend at drkrm/gallery in Los Angeles.

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