Marilyn Monroe was at a level of stardom that is hard for most people to grasp today. The closest comparison might be someone like Kim Kardashian, but only in level of recognition. Marilyn Monroe was a personality people wanted to be around and she was almost universally loved and revered. She seemed to have presence, like a superhero or amythic figure, that few since or before possessed.
During her brief time on this planet, she touched many lives, but three photographers in particular changed completely after they’d met her.
Stern dropped out of high school at 16 to get a job at Look Magazine. He worked his way from those humble beginnings to the art director position at Flair. There, he learned the art of photography but never truly embraced it until the 2,500 photo set of Marilyn Monroe he shot for Vogue. A three-day photo shoot would become his most well-known work and spawn a book called The Last Sitting.
Barris is known as the last photographer to capture Monroe on film before her death. The two met on the set of the 1954 movie The Seven Year Itch. His iconic shoot on Santa Monica Beach in 1962, and then again in the Hollywood Hills, which would become known as “The Last Photos” marked the last times that anyone would capture the visage of Marilyn Monroe on film.
Greene and Monroe were so close that he actually opened his home to her in Connecticut. He photographed her for “the Black Sitting”, one of the most memorable collections of her that exist today. Together, they collaborated on over 53 sessions, and Greene helped her create Marilyn Monroe Productions in an effort to reclaim her career.