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American photographer Eve Arnold dies aged 99


Eve Arnold at Edinburgh's Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1999. Photo: PA

Eve Arnold at Edinburgh's Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1999. Photo: PA

Eve Arnold at Edinburgh's Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1999. Photo: PA

Eve Arnold, the Magnum photographer famous for portraits of Marilyn Monroe and the Queen, has died.

Eve Arnold, one of the most revered photographers of the last century, died peacefully Wednesday in a London nursing home, a Magnum photo agency spokeswoman has said. She would have turned 100 in April.

She was best known for her intimate and lively collection of photographs of Hollywood film star Marilyn Monroe, as well as for capturing Queen Elizabeth II with her guard down, smiling up at the English sky on a particularly grim day. But she was also an intrepid photojournalist, travelling all over the world during the Seventies and Eighties and publishing colourful and influential books on China, Russia and America.

Her subjects ranged from bartenders and cowboys to Jacqueline Kennedy and Malcolm X. She was the first female photographer to make images for the Magnum Photography Agency, according to her London gallery Halcyon.

Arnold's most famous portraits of Monroe were taken on the set of the last film the star made before she died, The Misfits. Among the images to have come off that set is a romantic shot of Arthur Miller with Monroe the year before they were divorced. Miller, who wrote The Misfits, is said to be describing the way his father used to "Skip-to-my-lou", a rustic dance from middle America, for a scene in the film.

"What I have tried to do is involve the people I was photographing... if they were willing to give, I was willing to photograph," Arnold once said. She made many portraits of Monroe throughout the 1950s, and knew her more intimately, perhaps, than any other photographer of the day. Her best photographs are collected in "Marilyn Monroe: An Appreciation."

Born in Philadelphia in 1912 to Russian immigrant parents, her interest in photography did not begin until she was in her 30s, working at a photo-finishing plant in New York City. Arnold worked for publications including Life magazine and joined the Magnum collective in the Fifties'.

She moved to England in the early 1960s, with her son Frank, and begun working for The Sunday Times. Her career spanned more than half a century, but, in 2009, when asked by the actress Angelica Houston if she was still taking photographs, she replied, "That's over. I can't hold a camera anymore." In 2010 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sony World Photography Awards in Cannes.