Marilyn Monroe Photographer Eve Arnold Dies at 99

Eve Arnold Marilyn Monroe - P 2012
Richard Young/Rex USA

Eve Arnold Marilyn Monroe - P 2012

The Philadelphia native also shot personalities like Joan Crawford, Jacqueline Kennedy and Malcolm X.

LONDON --  Eve Arnold, a world-traveling photojournalist whose subjects ranged from the poor and dispossessed to Marilyn Monroe, has died, the Magnum photo agency said Thursday. She was 99.

Magnum spokeswoman Fiona Rogers said Arnold died peacefully Wednesday in a London nursing home.

Born in Philadelphia in April 1912 to Russian immigrant parents, Arnold lived on Long Island when she became interested in photography while working in a photofinishing lab.

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After taking a six-week photography course at the New School for Social Research in New York, she began her career in the 1940s, working for publications including Picture Post, Time and Life magazine during a golden age of magazine photojournalism.

Her subjects included migrant laborers, New York bartenders, Cuban fishermen and Afghan nomads; celebrities such as Joan Crawford and Elizabeth Taylor; and political figures including Jacqueline Kennedy, Malcolm X and Margaret Thatcher.

Arnold was renowned for her rapport with those she photographed.

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"If you're careful with people and if you respect their privacy, they will offer part of themselves that you can use," she told the BBC in a 2002 interview.

Her most famous shots include portraits of Monroe -- both vulnerable and glamorous -- taken over a decade and collected in her book Marilyn Monroe: An Appreciation.

"Themes recur again and again in my work," Arnold once said. "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."

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Arnold joined the Magnum agency in 1951 -- the first woman admitted to the cooperative -- after her images of fashion shows in Harlem caught the attention of photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Arnold settled in London in the 1960s, working for the Sunday Times Magazine and other publications. In the 1970s she photographed and filmed Dubai's ruling family for Behind the Veil, and was one of the first American photographers to work in China.

The photos she took there were exhibited in her first solo show, at the Brooklyn Museum in 1980, and published as In China. Other volumes of her work included In America and The Great British.

Her work was exhibited at Britain's National Portrait Gallery and was the subject of a retrospective show at the Barbican in London in 1996.

Arnold was a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and in 1995 was named Master Photographer by New York's International Center of Photography.

In 2003 she was named an officer of the Order of the British Empire, or OBE, by Queen Elizabeth II for services to photography, and in 2009 received a lifetime achievement prize from the Sony World Photography Awards.

Long divorced from husband Arnold Arnold, she is survived by her son, Frank, and three grandchildren. Funeral details were not immediately available.