Known to many by her images rather than by her name, Eve Arnold, who died this year at age 99, was a visionary, a gifted photographic artist and photojournalist, being the first woman to be hired by Magnum Photos, that impressive organization responsible for many of the world's most memorable photographic images that capture our time an dour history. teNeues Press has published this magnificent monograph, with a superb introduction by Liz Jobey who details the important steps in Eve Arnold's life, career and artistic impact.
Eve Arnold, who fell in love with photography after a boyfriend gave her a camera and who came to be regarded as a grande dame of postwar photojournalism for her bold, revealing images of subjects as diverse as Marilyn Monroe and migratory potato pickers, was a leading light in what is considered the golden age of news photography, when magazines like Life and Look commanded attention with big, arresting pictures supplied by adventurous photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Gordon Parks, Robert Capa and Margaret Bourke-White. From the New York Times the following facts are delivered: `Acclaimed for capturing celebrities in intimate moments after winning their trust, Ms. Arnold developed a particular rapport with Marilyn Monroe, the subject of a book of Arnold photographs. But other pictures, just as memorable, were of the unfamous. Among the more than 750,000 Ms. Arnold made was one taken in 1963 showing an English curate mowing a lawn, his robes tied up to keep them clear of the blades. She took pictures in a South African shantytown, a Havana brothel and a Moscow psychiatric hospital. She documented a Long Island hamlet, Miller Place, and the first minutes of a baby's life. She was an official photographer on 40 movie sets. After waiting 10 years for a visa, she visited China twice in 1979. Traveling 40,000 miles, she photographed Communist officials, Mongolian horsemen and oil drillers. The trip was chronicled in an exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum and a book, one of dozens she wrote and photographed. In 1985, Mary Blume of The International Herald Tribune wrote, "In a distinguished career, Eve Arnold has photographed Everyone with a capital `E' and also everyone." Ms. Arnold covered politics, including the Republican National Convention in 1952 and Senator Joseph R. McCarthy's investigation of suspected Communist subversion in 1954. But she earned wider note for her celebrity photos, starting in 1952 with Marlene Dietrich and her legendary legs, immortalized in a striking Arnold picture.'
This handsome volume is as elegantly designed as the images it contains. Below each photograph is an explanation of the subject, the time of the image....and unspoken social comment - the most tasteful information sharing to be seen in books on famous photographers. Eve Arnold offered us so much to learn about ourselves, our world, the highs and the lows of society, the wealth and the poverty, the politically saavy and the disenfranchised. Her work is monumentally important: her images become indelible on the viewer's brain. This is not only a sophisticated book of images by a genius, it is also a book that will cause the viewer to pause on every page to absorb the visual messages of Eve Arnold. Grady Harp, June 12