Before the world knew her as Marilyn Monroe, she went through life as Norma Jeane Mortenson. Norma met photographer Andre de Dienes in 1945, and as lovers they went on to travel to Malibu together a year later. There, the 20-year-old and completely inexperienced Norma posed for his camera in a blanket and without makeup.
These rare black and white photographs of Marilyn on Malibu beach were accompanied with the text below:
“She was twenty and had never experienced the intoxication of success, yet already there was a shadow over her radiance, in her laughter.
One day when we were relaxing on the beach between photo sessions, I decided to capture some new expressions I had glimpsed on Marilyn’s face. Getting her in close-up, I asked her to react instinctively, without giving herself time to think, to the words happiness, surprise, reflection, doubt, peace of mind, sadness, self-torment… and death. When I said ‘death’ she took hold of the folded dark-cloth and covered her head with it.
Death to her was blackness, nothingness. I tried to coax another reaction from her. Death might be a beginning, the hope of an everlasting light.
She shook her head: ‘That’s what death is for me.’ She turned towards me, her face set and despairing, eyes dulled, her mouth suddenly bereft of colour. To her, death was the end of everything.” – André de Dienes
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