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Eve Arnold Potato

January 29, 2012 by staff 

Eve Arnold Potato, Throughout her long career Eve Arnold’s pictures were always marked by understanding and compassion. She never strove for effect, and in the 1950s revelled in the advantages the new reportage had over studio-bound photographers. It allowed her to show celebrities in spontaneous mood, and to achieve unusual levels of intimacy and trust with her subjects, especially women.

She was particularly associated with Marilyn Monroe, whom she photographed extensively over a 10-year period, including some superb photographs on the set of The Misfits (1961). Both were just beginning their careers when they were introduced. Monroe, who had seen some of Eve Arnold’s photographs of Marlene Dietrich, said: “If you could do that well with Marlene, can you imagine what you can do with me?”

Arnold indeed captured a freshness about Monroe that was missing from posed publicity shots. She recalled later that no one else had Monroe’s ability to use both photographer and camera, and Marilyn remained the yardstick by which she measured subjects.

Above all, Arnold was a photographer of people — trying, as she put it, “to record the essence of a subject in the 125th part of a second”. Her subjects went far beyond the boundary of celebrity, taking in everything from American migratory potato pickers and black civil rights protesters, to new-born babies, Afghan nomads and the poverty-stricken of South Africa and the Far East.

Eve Arnold was born Eve Cohen on April 21 1912 in Philadelphia, one of nine children. Her parents were Russian Jews who had fled persecution. Although her father was a rabbi and well-educated, he could find work only as a pedlar, and Eve grew up in poverty.

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