She was a glamorous Hollywood actress, a model, a sex symbol, and an enigma – always in high demand by photographers.
No photographer was closer to her than celebrity photographer Milton H. Greene.
Now, his unpublished photographs of screen siren Marilyn Monroe are heading under the hammer.
The photographer and Monroe were close friends and ultimately formed their own film production company, which produced Bus Stop and The Prince and the Showgirl.
Before marrying Arthur Miller, Monroe lived with Greene and his family in their Connecticut farmhouse.
Greene had unprecedented access to a side of Monroe not often seen and this allowed for a unique quality of images not seen in other portraits of the star, says ‘Profiles in History’ President Joe Maddalena, whose company will auction the photos.
“The proximity to her and the intimacy that these portraits depict are unlike any other images of Marilyn Monroe because he had access to her in an environment where she was so relaxed and so herself that you see the quality and the greatness and the sparkle in her eyes that just doesn’t exist by any other photographer who took her pictures,” Maddalena says.
During their four years together, Greene photographed Monroe in 52 photoshoots and on various film sets.
The collection from his archive is even more unusual because copyrights are included with the images.
“Copyright has a separate value because now you can license this to a magazine, somebody who wants to publish a poster, you could make reproductions and sell prints because you own them, you could stop any body else form selling these prints because you own the copyright. So it’s a very powerful thing. You control the destiny of that image; no one can ever use it again without you. So there’s a commercial business that could be created,” Maddela says.
While many photos depict the star in her trademark pin-up girl poses, the photographer also manages to reveal her more fragile, vulnerable and even innocent sides.
More than 3,700 negatives and transparencies of Monroe shot by Milton H. Greene have been divided up into 82 separate lots for the sale.
Auction house “Profiles in History” will hold the auction on July 27th in California, and also online and by phone.