Eve Arnold: Magnum's First Lady

Photograph: Eve Arnold with Marilyn Monroe, 1960

USA. Marilyn Monroe during the filming of 'The Misfits'. 1960. 
© Eve Arnold for AP

If a photographer cares about the people before the lens and is compassionate, much is given. It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument.”

American-born, Eve Arnold, became Magnum's first female full-member in 1957, after a close association with the group from 1951.  A prolific photojournalist, she went on to gain a number of highly regarded awards & honorary degrees and, having moved to England in the early 60's, was awarded the Order of the British Empire, UK in 2003. She died in 2012 at the grand age of 99.


Photo: Eve Arnold. Cheshire, England. 1968

ENGLAND. 1968. Cheshire. The Queen on tour. 

Arnold worked globally - including US, England, Cuba, Dubai, Afghanistan, Haiti, South Africa - but her time in China was particularly successful, leading to her first solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in 1980 and to being awarded the National Book Award for 'In China'. In the same year she also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Magazine Photographers.


Photo: Eve Arnold. Haiti, 1954.

HAITI. 1954. The American drug companies tested Milltown, an early tranquiliser experiment at this asylum.


Photo: Eve Arnold. Virginia, USA. 1958.

USA. 1958. Virginia. Black and white children at a party to introduce mixed schools.


Photo: Eve Arnold. Havana, Cuba. 1954.

CUBA. 1954. Havana. Bar girl in a brothel in the red light district.


After a catalogue of honours and awards, in 1995 she was made a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and Master Photographer by New York's Centre of Photography - the worlds most prestigious photographic honour. 

Known for her iconic images of the brightest stars of the time including Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Elizabeth Taylor, Eve was equally at home photographing the poor and displaced among society. 


Photo: Eve Arnold. China 1979.

CHINA. 1979. Retired woman.


Photo: Eve Arnold. Afghanistan. 1969

AFGHANISTAN. 1969. Nomad wedding in the Hindu Kush.


Photo: Eve Arnold. Texas, USA. 1982

USA. 1982. Texas. Sugarland. Prisoners.


"I don't see anybody as either ordinary or extraordinary," she told the BBC in 1990, "I see them simply as people in front of my lens.”

She was arguably most famous for her images of Marilyn Monroe (notably on the set of The Misfits but also throughout Marilyn's all-too-short career), and of Malcom X, having followed him and the Nation of Islam across American for a year in 1961.


Photo: Eve Arnold. Marilyn Monroe, USA 1955.

USA. 1955. New York. Long Island. Marilyn Monroe.


Photo: Eve Arnold. Marilyn Monroe, USA 1955.

USA. 1960. Marilyn Monroe on the Nevada desert during the filming of "The Misfits".


Photo: Eve Arnold. Marilyn Monroe, USA, 1960.

USA. 1960. Marilyn Monroe during the filming of 'The Misfits'.


Photo: Eve Arnold. Malcom X, Chicago, USA. 1961

USA. 1961. Chicago. Malcolm X.


All photos courtesy of Magnum Photos: Eve Arnold at Magnum.

See more Eve Arnold images on our 'Women of Magnum' Pinterest board.

Visit our Portraits Collection at 100 Prints.