Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Eve Arnold

Eve Arnold (April 21, 1912 - January 4, 2012) was an American photojournalist who is best known for her photographs of many of the iconic figures who shaped the second half of the twentieth century, including Marilyn Monroe (pictured above). She has also photographed people such as migrant workers and disabled Vietnam war veterans, so there is a range of styles throughout her work. The majority of her work is black and white, however in the early 1960s when she moved to London, England and was working for The Sunday Times, she began to make use of colour photography more and more. I personally really love her work, especially her collection of photographs of Marilyn Monroe as I think that they really capture her expression and mood at the time. The photograph above was taken behind the scenes on the set of The Misfits (1961). Although the photograph is in black and white, it still captures the details of the image. I also particularly like how Marilyn is the only thing in focus in this image, as it makes the viewer think about the setting and what it is and where she is - I think that this is an interesting technique that Arnold has used. 

This photograph doesn't seem too posed either. It looks like it was taken when she was walking, or just looked up to the camera, rather than the photograph being set up and staged. It appears more natural which I think is something to think about when taking my own photographs. The black and white effect also adds to this. These photographs really work with the 'inner character' theme as you get to see her as herself, even though she is dressed to play the part of somebody else. In this photograph (and the collection as a whole also) the lighting is very soft, which again makes the photograph seem more natural, because if the lighting was harsh and bright, the photographs would seem staged, as if the artist had spent a long time setting up the outfit, setting, lighting, camera angle etc... instead of it being a snapshot. Snapshot photography also makes it work look more like photographs that are taken for memories rather than a magazine or a portfolio - which, again, makes them appear more natural. 

I think that it would have been interesting to take pictures of the same actor/actress but over a long period of time where they're in different costumes for different roles, as you would be seeing the same person in each of the pictures, but they would look different in all of them. It would also be an interesting way of documenting their time on set when they were being filmed. It would also be showing all of the different types of roles that they portrayed in that time frame of their career. 

Throughout the collection, the artist has used different camera angles for different picture. For example, the photograph shown above is a portrait from the waist up, but there is also quite a bit of space above her head. In the first photograph below, it is a close up, and the background is dark so that you only see Marilyn (I also like how in this photograph, her hair appears to be fading into the darkness as this makes the photograph seem more dramatic and perhaps even slightly gothic). 

I think that inner character is an interesting theme to explore and I plan to combine it with the movement + light theme to create a unique final outcome. If I were to recreate photographs like this, I would perhaps double exposure the image with colourful lights, such as fairy lights, to combine both the black and white portrait with the colourful light (perhaps using the bokeh technique). Overall, I think that this collection is very inspirational for work that I want to create for this project. 

More photographs from the same collection:

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