There was no such person as Marilyn Monroe

CURATORNET

RICHARD AVEDON (1923–2004)“There was no such person as Marilyn Monroe … [She was] invented, like an author creates a character.”
Today, we all know the backstory: Tragic, beautiful Marilyn, doomed by a swirl of drugs and bad men and her wrecked sense of self. But precisely 50 years ago, at Richard Avedon’s studio on Madison Avenue, she could still step into the breathy-blonde persona. “For hours she danced and sang and flirted and did this thing that’s—she did Marilyn Monroe,” Avedon said later, adding that the white wine helped things along. “Then there was the inevitable drop … she sat in the corner like a child, with everything gone.” And he clicked his shutter once more. “I wouldn’t photograph her without her knowledge of it. And as I came with the camera, I saw that she was not saying no.” The resultant final frame is among the most famous portraits…

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