Editor's Pick

Photojournalist Eve Arnold Dies At 99

Listen

4 min 19 sec
 
  • Marilyn Monroe goes over her lines on the Nevada set of the film The Misfits, 1960.
    Hide caption
    Marilyn Monroe goes over her lines on the Nevada set of the film The Misfits, 1960.
    Eve Arnold/Courtesy of Magnum Photos
  • A girl sits at a brothel bar in Havana's red light district, 1954.
    Hide caption
    A girl sits at a brothel bar in Havana's red light district, 1954.
    Eve Arnold/Courtesy of Magnum Photos
  • George Lincoln Rockwell (center), founder of the American Nazi Party, is flanked by other members at a meeting, 1961.
    Hide caption
    George Lincoln Rockwell (center), founder of the American Nazi Party, is flanked by other members at a meeting, 1961.
    Eve Arnold/Courtesy of Magnum Photos
  • Father Gregory Wilkins, director of The Society of the Sacred Mission, mows the lawn in England, 1963.
    Hide caption
    Father Gregory Wilkins, director of The Society of the Sacred Mission, mows the lawn in England, 1963.
    Eve Arnold/Courtesy of Magnum Photos
  • Nuns on the day of their wedding to the Lord, Surrey, England, 1965.
    Hide caption
    Nuns on the day of their wedding to the Lord, Surrey, England, 1965.
    Eve Arnold/Courtesy of Magnum Photos
  • Performer Josephine Baker in Harlem, 1950.
    Hide caption
    Performer Josephine Baker in Harlem, 1950.
    Eve Arnold/Courtesy of Magnum Photos
  • A fisherman and family, Cuba, 1954.
    Hide caption
    A fisherman and family, Cuba, 1954.
    Eve Arnold/Courtesy of Magnum Photos
  • Horse training for the militia in Mongolia, 1979.
    Hide caption
    Horse training for the militia in Mongolia, 1979.
    Eve Arnold/Courtesy of Magnum Photos

1 of 8

View slideshow i

Photographer Eve Arnold died Wednesday, just a few months shy of her 100th birthday. Arnold is best known for her intimate portraits of both the rich and famous — including Marilyn Monroe, Malcolm X and Joan Crawford — and of the down and out.

As Robert Capa, one of the founders of the agency Magnum Photos, once put it: Arnold's work "falls metaphorically between Marlene Dietrich's legs and the bitter lives of migratory potato pickers."

But that was a polarity — of ordinary and extraordinary subjects — that Arnold rejected in a 1990 BBC interview: "I don't see anybody as either ordinary or extraordinary," she said. "I see them simply as people in front of my lens.

"She was very, by nature, on the side of the underdog," says Brigitte Lardinois, a colleague and friend of Arnold's and co-author of the book Eve Arnold's People. "She was by nature somebody who believed that all people are equal."

Arnold was born in Philadelphia to Russian immigrant parents, but moved to London in the '60s. She was one of the first women to join Magnum Photos — then and now a renowned photo agency. Her photos appeared on the pages of Time and Life, and very often, the stories were her ideas.

Eve Arnold on the set of Becket, 1963. i i

Eve Arnold on the set of Becket, 1963. Robert Penn/Courtesy of Magnum Photos hide caption

itoggle caption Robert Penn/Courtesy of Magnum Photos
Eve Arnold on the set of Becket, 1963.

Eve Arnold on the set of Becket, 1963.

Robert Penn/Courtesy of Magnum Photos

"Themes recur again and again in my work," The Associated Press once quoted Arnold as saying. "I have been poor and I wanted to document poverty; I had lost a child and I was obsessed with birth; I was interested in politics and I wanted to know how it affected our lives; I am a woman and I wanted to know about women."

"She has been very important to me," Lardinois says. "Not just as a great photographer but as a fellow human being and an impressive woman."

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.