As a young girl, I always had an artistic bent. When I grew up, I thought I would be doing something in the arts, well except for that brief stint after I saw the movie “Convoy” and wanted to be a trucker but that’s another story. I took private art classes from a French woman who lived up the street from us, poured through books about how to draw, and spent countless hours practicing my craft. I was never very good at it but I thought I might have a shot in advertising. On to my teenage years and another interest developed. I became fascinated with Marilyn Monroe and at the same time, my interest in photography was born. I didn’t realize it at the time but the photos were what drew me in more than the persona. I began collecting books about Marilyn Monroe and would spend hours gazing at the photos that had been captured of her and had so artfully depicted her many moods. Why on earth am I writing about this today, you might wonder. Well, I read an article here at CNN.com about some photos of Marilyn Monroe that had been discovered in some Life Magazine vault or basement. They have never seen the light of day until now and, the few that I saw were really remarkable. But not for the reason one might think.
While looking at these photographs, I realized that the advent of digital photography and Photoshop has taken photography to a place that, sometimes I’m not so sure how I feel about it. We photographers spend so much time trying to get the perfect photo, without blow-outs, hot-spots, shadows, underexposures and the like that it’s possible to miss a beautifully perfect, imperfect photo. I cannot put examples from the article here to further illustrate what I’m saying but, once you follow that link and view the slideshow you will know exactly what I’m talking about. The pictures of Marilyn Monroe have at least one of these “faults”. For a portrait photographer, families don’t usually want perfectly imperfect, and for the most part I get that. They want images of their family and loved ones that they can see. For myself though, it has really made me want to get back in touch with my more artistic side and capture the moment as the Life Photographer did in these unpublished photos of Marilyn Monroe. I think this feeling is also why I tend to be a pretty straight editor of my photos. Don’t get me wrong, I love photos where people have so artfully manipulated them in Photoshop that it’s impossible to discern what is real and what is not. I just don’t see things that way. I wish I could but even when I try, it just doesn’t work for me.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go dig up some of those old books and look through them for some photographic inspiration. Please go look at the slideshow! Hope all is well in your world!