In these vintage photos, Hollywood’s blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe is seen taking some photographs with a Rolleiflex TLR. Who knew that this year’s Cannes poster girl liked being behind the lens as well as in front of it?
LIFE recently wrote about a series of previously unpublished photos featuring a young Marilyn Monroe. Photographed by Ed Clark in August 1950, it reveals Monroe during her burgeoning career.
Four years prior to this shoot, she still went by the name Norma Jeane Dougherty, when she was still the wife of a Merchant Marine and a worker in a munitions factory. Later, she became a sex symbol and a Hollywood mainstay, eponymous to old film glamour. Even to this day, she is given numerous posthumous tributes, such as becoming the face of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.
“She was unknown then, so I was able to spend a lot of time shooting her,” Clark recalled. "We’d go out to Griffith Park and she’d read poetry. I sent several rolls to LIFE in New York, but they wired back, ‘Who the hell is Marilyn Monroe?’ Why LIFE never published this gold mine of photos after Marilyn became a superstar remains a mystery. The only clue: a brief note about the shoot we found in our archives, addressed to LIFE’s photo editor and saying that “this take was over-developed and poorly printed.”
With Cannes going on til next week, we’ve been researching a lot to bring you the latest news from the film festival. We stumbled upon these photographs of a beaming Monroe playing around with a Rolleiflex TLR camera and just had to share it with our dear analogue lovers!
These, on the other hand, were taken by John Vachon in 1953 on location in Canada where they were filming a movie. It used to belong to the magazine Look and was given to the USA Library of Congress in 1971. Wish we could see the results, but whether she’s the subject or the lensman, cameras seem to love this brilliant blonde!