Review by Ceri Wheeldon
We are in the age of selfies and personal branding, but the world in the 1950s was very different, and within the Hollywood studio system actresses were expected to have the studio determine their profile, and manage their public image.
I was invited to an exhibition in London by Proud Galleries where photographs of Marilyn by photographer Milton H. Greene were on display.
Marilyn Monroe met celebrity photographer Milton Greene at a photo shoot in 1953. Unhappy with her dumb blonde image being cultivated within the studio system, Marilyn extricated herself from her contract, and set up a production company with Greene. With more than 50 photo sessions (and two films) together, some of the most iconic images of Marilyn were produced. Only when you see them close up can you really appreciate , not just her beauty, but the way that Marilyn could convey so much emotion just by looking into the lens of a camera.
Taken between 1953 and 1956 The photographs are simply stunning – and available to buy (if you have a considerable budget!). As we are bombarded by the celebrity culture of the likes of the Kardashians, seeing these images of Marilyn illustrate just how few individuals can develop a ‘brand’ and image that truly stands the test of time.
The exhibition itself is small and intimate. Marilyn fans will love it. I would suggest combining a visit with other activities in town – as although the images are stunning it doesn’t take that long to view them all.
Up Close with Marilyn: Portraits by Milton H. Greene, 11th May 2018 – 24th June 2018, Proud Galleries ? www.proud.co.uk
Images are © The Archives LLC / Iconic Images