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Marilyn. NYC. 1956

Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe in New York City, 1957. Photo: Sam Shaw Of the thousands of photos of Marilyn Monroe some of my favourites are from when she lived in New York, many of which were taken by photographer Sam Shaw. Now some of these images are on display in a small exhibit, "Marilyn in New York," at the 42nd Street-Bryant Park subway station. Shaw and Monroe met on the set of Via Zapata! in 1951. The film’s director, Elia Kazan, was dating Monroe at the time and asked her to drive Shaw, the film’s still photographer, to the set every day. The two hit it off and remained good friends for the rest of Monroe's life.  Monroe was photographed by Shaw numerous times, both on set and off. She said he always made her "look good" while he claimed "I just want to show this fascinating woman with her guard down, at work, at ease, off-stage, during joyous moments in her life as often she was—alone.”  One of their New York shoots occurred during the filming of The Seven Year Itch. On the night of September 15, 1954, a crowd gathered at Lexington and 52nd Street to watch Monroe as she stood on a subway grate, her skirt billowing up from the blasts of air from the trains below. Spotting Shaw, the film's official photographer, Monroe shouted “Hi Sam Spade,” her nickname for him. Shaw took the photo above along with many others, capturing one of the most iconic images in film history. Three years later on June 12, 1957, Shaw spent the day taking photographs of Monroe in the city. She played around in Central Park, window shopped on Fifth Avenue, and posed with husband Arthur Miller with the Queensboro Bridge as the backdrop.  In addition to rowing a boat and having a snack, Monroe showed off her improve skills that she was working on at the Actor's Studio. She grabbed Shaw's newspaper and sat on a bench, pretending to read while she eavesdropped on the conversation of the couple next to her. There must have been loads of people excited about seeing Marilyn in the flesh but I like how Shaw captured some people looking completely uninterested in the fact that a screen goddess was in their midst. The exhibit is up through December 31, 2013. For more information visit here.

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