The first of the new batch of books for 2012 is Magnum's collective picture book, simply titled Marilyn by Magnum. Published for the
first time in a single volume, it brings together all the Magnum photographers who worked with Marilyn from her first Magnum
photo shoot as a young starlet for Life magazine in 1949, to the phenomenon she would become over the next decade, taking them
way beyond the sex siren or child-woman clichés. Magnum's collective portrait shows a star certainly but also a professional woman
engaged in the serious business of work and play, and surviving in an extremely hard nosed business run often by some very
unreconstructed men. In the safe hands of Magnum, images of crude sexuality were replaced by images of warm sensuality,
vulnerability, laughter, and a luminous, interesting beauty. The dumb blonde was replaced by a complex, intelligent woman.
Here then are ten Magnum photographers, namely, Eve Arnold, Cornell Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bruce Davidson, Elliot Erwitt,
Philippe Halsman, Erich Hartmann, Bob Henriques, Inge Morath & Dennis Stock in a celebration of some of their best work with
Marilyn over a ten year period, culminating in the shooting of The Misfits in 1960, where Magnum had exclusive rights to shoot
production stills and publicity material for the film. At the time it was such a coup for the photo agency that they assigned nine of
their best photographers to cover the event, two at a time spending fifteen days at a time on the sets in Reno and the Nevada desert.
During this time they captured probably the most important single view of Marilyn Monroe at work and at leisure. "Once she was
ready to be photographed," writes Inge Morath, "she would surpass the expectations of the lens. She had a shimmering quality like an
emanation of water, and she moved lyrically."
The book itself has little new to offer in way of new photos for those already familiar with Magnum but there are some very rarely
seen images here by Phillipe Halsman which managed to garner coverage in the printed press and media. With the vast archives that
Magnum have I was disappointed it wasn't a bigger book but that would have no doubt increased the price considerably with the
usage of the images. It's a lovely tribute all the same and the Eve Arnold cover image is a stunning close up of a very sensuous
Marilyn from 1960.