Monday, October 23, 2017

Book Review: The Essential Marilyn Monroe

Author: Milton H. Greene
Publication Date: October 16, 2017
Publisher: ACC Art Books

Milton H. Greene (1922-1985), famous for his fashion photography and celebrity portraits from the golden age of Hollywood, met Marilyn Monroe on a photo shoot for Look magazine in 1953. The pair developed an instant rapport, quickly becoming close friends and ultimately business partners. In 1954, after helping her get out of her studio contract with 20th Century Fox, they created Marilyn Monroe Productions, Inc. Milton and Marilyn were much more then business partners, Marilyn became a part of the Greene family. By the time their relationship had ended in 1957, the pair had produced two feature films, in addition to more than 5,000 photographs of the iconic beauty. There was magic in Milton and Marilyn's working relationship. The trust and confidence they had in each other's capabilities was on full display in each photo.

Greene passed in 1985, thinking his life's work was succumbing to the ravages of time. His eldest son, Joshua, began a journey to meticulously restore his father's legacy. A photographer himself, Joshua spent years researching ways to restore his father's photographs as well as cataloging and promoting Milton's vast body of work all over the world. As a result, Joshua established "The Archives," a company committed to the restoration and preservation of photography. After spending nearly two decades restoring his father's archive, Joshua Greene and his company are widely regarded as one of the leaders in photographic restoration and have been at the forefront of the digital imaging and large-format printing revolution.

Now Joshua Greene, in conjunction with Iconic Images, presents The Essential Marilyn Monroe: Milton H. Greene, 50 Sessions. With over 250 photographs, including many never-before published and unseen images, newly scanned and restored classics, as well as images that have appeared only once in publication, Greene's Marilyn Monroe archive can finally be viewed as it was originally intended when these pictures were first produced more than 60 years ago. These classic sessions - 50 in all - cover Monroe at the height of her astonishing beauty and meteoric fame. From film-sets to the bedroom, at home and at play, Joshua has curated a lasting tribute to the work of a great photographer and his greatest muse.

Poignant and powerful, joyful and stunning - these breath-taking images of an icon stand above all the rest and The Essential Marilyn Monroe: Milton H. Greene, 50 Sessions will sure to be a book that will become the platinum standard in photography monographs.

Although known as the world’s premiere sex symbol, Marilyn was serious about developing her skills as an actor.

These photos show a side of Marilyn rarely seen by the public: the young freckle-faced star sans makeup.

Marilyn hated wearing high heels. Her personal preference was to go barefoot or to wear a simple pair of flats. 

Let’s be honest. There is one thing we can probably all agree on; Marilyn Monroe is one of the greatest icons to have ever lived. This book is lavish and luxurious and everything else that you would expect. Marilyn Monroe fills these beautifully matte pages like the sun fills the sky: effervescent and spellbindingly. I have always been entranced by Marilyn’s life, the photos I see, her films, and the secrets surrounding her that could never quite stay behind closed doors. This book features jaw-dropping photos that I have never seen, and trust me, I thought I had seen them all. Marilyn is characterized in so many different ways throughout these pages; she can be seen laughing in pure candid fashion, she can be seen in a childish pose that allows readers to see her truly beautiful personality, and she can of course be seen posing as the sexy trendsetter that we all know her for today.

The classic photography that adorns the pages of this book is spectacular; it carries a sense of nostalgia that is so often missing from popular photography today. This book is going to lovingly sit atop my coffee table and I hope many who enter my home are as entranced by its pages as I was. If you are a true Marilyn Monroe fan or love the transcending style of classic photography, this is beautifully bound book is a must have for your collection.

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers in exchange for an honest review***

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