Marilyn Monroe had a glittering career and throughout, she had the choice of many photographers who she wanted to work with. In 1954, however, she went with Milton H. Greene.
Monroe developed a budding relationship wth Greene; a relationship that was responsible for the latter taking well over 5,000 photographs of her over the course of three short years. Their first interaction was in 1953 when he photographed her for LOOK magazine. They became close and later established Marilyn Monroe Productions, Inc., together. At a time, Monroe even lived with Greene and with his wife and son (named Amy and Joshua respectively) at their family home in Connecticut for the majority part of 1957. Although he was only young at that time, Joshua Greene recalls that those years were filled with happy childhood memories.
The following photographs are the subject of a new book; The Essential Marilyn Monroe, Milton H. Greene: 50 Sessions. The photos were a collaboration that had just as much influence from the muse as those of the photographer. The dynamic between Monroe and Greene is apparent in the range of photos, from posed shots taken in the studio to candid photos that featured other personalities, including Marlon Brando, Lawrence Olivier and her husband Arthur Miller.
“The photos were like a found diamond”, said Joshua Greene. “You have to realize the fact that all these pictures were in bad conditions, and the only way they get to come back to life is to get down and work on them. The process is almost like restoring an old car to its former glory.”
Marilyn Monroe from the October 1954 Ballerina session.
This photo of Marilyn Monroe, never published before, is the limited-edition cover of the new book “The Essential Marilyn Monroe.” It was taken in October 1953 during a shoot for Look magazine, but it was never used.
This photo, taken in September 1953, is the main cover of the book. Monroe is wearing a negligee adorned with fur and a diamond bracelet.
Monroe is dressed as a palm reader after she and photographer Milton H. Greene ransacked the 20th Century Fox costume department in April 1956.
Monroe wears her favorite outfit, a white terrycloth robe, just after finishing her makeup in March 1955.
This photo of Monroe wearing a sweater coat was taken by Greene during their first sitting for Look magazine in September 1953. Many of the photos from the shoot were considered too risqué and weren’t published.
Monroe wears a jacket and matching trousers for a studio shoot in March 1955. This retro style became a signature look for her.
Monroe wears a red cashmere sweater in July 1955.
Monroe looks up at Laurence Olivier on the set of “The Prince and the Showgirl” in 1956.
Monroe poses with Pekingese dogs that were part of a Look magazine shoot in February 1955.
Monroe wears a black cape in October 1955. Greene had selected two outfits from a fashion shoot and used Monroe as a model while setting up lights for two shooting environments to be used the following day.
Joshua Greene with Marilyn Monroe from the Bus Stop session, 1956.
From one of Milton Greene’s earliest sittings with Marilyn Monroe, not long after he was assigned by Look magazine to photograph the actress in 1953.
Milton Greene took this image in his daylight studio, a converted barn at his home in Weston, Connecticut, December 1955.