From lying disheveled in bed to striking a pose while draped in black velvet, these stunning photos capture the many different sides of Marilyn Monroe.
The intimate images were shot by close friend and collaborator Milton H. Greene in the early and mid-1950s, documenting the Hollywood icon at the height of her fame.
While some emphasise the sex appeal that made Monroe a star, others seek to reveal her vulnerable and gentle nature.
The Rock Sitting, 1954: This portrait was first published in an editorial for Look magazine and depicts Marilyn nestled in the rocky crevasses of Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles. Greene would often use textured backdrops in his photographs to give his pictures visual depth
The Bed Sitting, 1953: This rare and previously unpublished photograph is part of a series taken at the guest villa in the estate of Joseph Schenck, one of the founders of 20th Century Fox. The photo also reveals how comfortable Marilyn was with Greene behind the camera
The photographs will go on display as part of the exhibition Up Close with Marilyn: Portraits by Milton H. Greene at London’s Proud Galleries next month.
Monroe was a young box-office bombshell when she met Greene a photoshoot for Look magazine in 1953.
The two struck up a friendship and she later moved into his family home in Connecticut. Greene’s own son has previously speculated the pair had an affair.
Schenck House, 1953: Joseph Schenck, co-founder of 20th Century Fox, mentored a young, up-and-coming Marilyn after returning to Hollywood following a stint in jail for tax evasion. On one autumn weekend in 1953, Schenck allowed Greene and Marilyn to stay at the guest villa of his Beverly Hills estate, where the pair created this series of relaxed, candid-style photographs
Greene, who made a name photographing some of the biggest stars of the day, shot the actress in 52 different settings, resulting in an archive of over 5,000 images.
Greene’s photograph for one such sitting in 1954 of Monroe in a ballet tutu was chosen by Time Life as one of the three most popular images of the 20th century.
Together the pair also founded Marilyn Monroe Productions, giving Marilyn control and ownership of her career.
The Black Sitting, 1956: Many Monroe fans revere the ‘Black Sitting’ as the finest pictures of Marilyn available. Although sexy and provocative, this photograph manages to retain a sense of innocence and youth. It is the result of a four-hour long shoot
Greene encouraged Marilyn to step away from the ‘dumb blonde’ roles that she had become known for and took a series of photos which challenged this stereotype.
Working in locations that varied from the Californian landscape to film sets and photography studios, the pair collaborated throughout their friendship as they worked together to broaden the public’s perception of ‘Marilyn’.
But they parted ways in 1957, after Monroe’s then husband, Arthur Miller, grew edgy about Milton’s role.
The Ballerina Sitting, 1954: Perhaps Milton and Marilyn’s most recognizable series of images, the ‘Ballerina Sitting’ was named by Time magazine in 1999 as one of the top three photographs of the 20th century. Taken in Greene’s New York studio, the dress was apparently two sizes too small, requiring Marilyn to hold up the front bodice and creating this pose
Up Close with Marilyn: Portraits by Milton H. Greene, Proud Central, 11 May – 24 June 2018, www.proud.co.uk