Ed Feingersh – Four Days in New York: Marilyn and Ed Feingersh, 1955

Being a huge Marilyn fan I’ve been scanning through the many many books I have looking for my favorite ‘Marilyn photographer’ two of my favourite photos are by Ed Feingersh.

Ed spent four days with Marilyn photographing her in New York, and I found a lovely piece written by Tara Hanks. Below are some of my favorite bits.

Ed refused to allow his pictures to be cropped. His grainy, monochrome shots of Marilyn were among the most realistic ever taken.

the strain of ‘being Marilyn’ was overwhelming. At a costume fitting for her guest
appearance at a circus, Marilyn ‘burst into tears of frustration’, Robert Stein recalled. ‘Eddie’s camera got it all,
showing her rising tension against a visual jangle of wire hangers in the background.’

As the assignment progressed, Stein began to notice many similarities between Feingersh and Monroe…

‘They both were somehow more directly connected to life than the rest of us, and more vulnerable. Like Marilyn, Eddie was given to self-parody to mask the pain of being defenceless against daily living and, like her, desperate to make full use of the gifts such an open nature provides.

‘Just as Marilyn dreaded looking less than perfect in front of the cameras and was always late, so Eddie obsessed over what he did behind the camera and would let no one else develop or print his pictures.

‘Each held on to an ideal of Art as if it were life itself, and, as it turned out for both of them, it was. Marilyn’s movies and Eddie’s pictures made those who saw them feel more alive but at the same time fear for their safety, sensing the price that would have to be paid for their luminous openness.’

‘Ever since, those who loved Eddie’s work have tried to get museums to give him the recognition he deserves,’ Stein concluded. ‘But it has been no easier to help him in death than it was during his life. Almost all his prints and negatives, so closely held, scattered and disappeared, magnificent pictures lost forever.’

However, Feingersh’s pictures of Marilyn were found in a New York warehouse in 1987, and purchased by archivist Michael Ochs as part of a larger lot of un examined materials. A book, Marilyn 55, was published (updated as Marilyn in New York in 2008), and the Feingersh sessions have since been the subject of many exhibitions. They are now among the most popular images of Marilyn, revealing to each viewer her natural beauty, and the unique artistry of Ed Feingersh.

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