Arnold, Eve 1913-
ARNOLD, Eve 1913-
PERSONAL: Born 1913, in Philadephia, PA; married Arnold Arnold (divorced); children: one son. Education: Studied medicine; attended New School for Social Research, 1947-48.
ADDRESSES: Home—26 Mount St., London WIY 5RB, England. Agent—Magnum Photos, 115 West 25th St., New York, NY 10001; Magnum Photographic Agency, Moreland Buildings, 2nd Floor, 5 Old St., London EC1V 9HL, England.
CAREER: Photojournalist. Magnum Photos (cooperative photography agency), New York, NY, and Paris, France, freelance photographer for advertising agencies and periodicals, including Life, Stern, Match, Vogue, London Sunday Times, and London Times, 1951—. Filmmaker, with films including Behind the Veil, 1973. Exhibitions: Exhibitions of photographs include "In China," Brooklyn Museum, 1980 and U.S. cities, 1980-82; Knoedler Gallery, London, 1987; "In Retrospect," International Center of Photography, Menil Museum, University of Texas, and Barbican, all 1996; and "Women around the World," Tokyo, 1996.
AWARDS, HONORS: American Library Association Notable Book designation, 1980, for In China; Lifetime Achievement Award, American Society of Magazine Photographers, 1980; Royal Photographic Society fellow, 1995; Master Photographer citation, New York's International Center of Photography, 1995.
The Unretouched Woman, Knopf (New York, NY), 1976.
Flashback!: The '50s, Knopf (New York, NY), 1978, published as The Fifties, 1985.
In China, Knopf (New York, NY), 1980.
In America, Knopf (New York, NY), 1983.
Marilyn Monroe: An Appreciation, Borzoi (New York, NY), 1987.
All in a Day's Work, Bantam (New York, NY), 1989.
The Great British, Knopf (New York, NY), 1991, published as In Great Britain, Sinclair-Stevenson (London, England), 1991.
In Retrospect, Knopf (New York, NY), 1995.
Eve Arnold: Film Journal, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2002.
(With others) For God's Sake, Care, introduction by David Frost, foreword by General Frederick Coutts, Constable (London, England), 1967.
The Opening Ceremony of Cullinan Hall, October 10, 1958, Houston, Texas (photographic essay), text by Hugo V. Neuhaus, Jr., (Houston, TX), 1972.
Private View: Inside Baryshnikov's American Ballet Theatre, text by John Fraser, Bantam (New York, NY), 1988.
Handbook with Footnotes, Bloomsbury, 2003.
Contributor of articles to Nouveau Photocinema and Camera 35. Some of Arnold's books have been published in France, Spain, Italy, Japan, Germany, Canada, and England.
SIDELIGHTS: Eve Arnold, according to Guardian writer Ian Mayes, "comes from a school of photography that is rapidly disappearing. She is a representative of that dwindling band of photojournalists who were given plenty of time to explore their subjects . . . and then left amazingly free from editorial interference while they did so."
One of the twentieth century's most influential women photographers, Arnold did not set out to follow a career in photojournalism. She was studying to become a doctor in the 1940s when her boyfriend presented her with a Rolleicord camera. Arnold soon enrolled in Alexey Brodovitch's photography class at the New School for Social Research in New York City and with one of her first assignments—a fashion show—determined the tenor of her future photographic works. Instead of snapping glossy, high-fashion pictures, Arnold sought to convey the vitality of local shows in Harlem. Brodovitch liked the project so much that he encouraged his student to pursue it for a year and a half; the study eventually culminated in a major article for London's Picture Post.
Arnold gave up medicine and joined the prestigious Magnum photography agency in 1951, becoming its first American woman member. During the 1950s she often photographed stories that dealt with women, the aged, the poor, and blacks for popular magazines. She treated her subjects kindly and candidly, attempting to capture honestly the common flow of life. In the 1960s and 1970s Arnold's photographs concentrated on the more political aspects of the civil rights and women's movements, although her photos still retained an emphasis on the individual.
In Flashback!: The '50s, Arnold presents a portfolio of her photographs, with personal commentary, from a decade Douglas Davis described in a Newsweek review as "the golden age of American postwar photojournalism" in "its last and sweetest phase." Picture magazines like Life and Look were popular and photographers were encouraged to use extreme measures to capture powerful, memorable images. The life of the photojournalist in that era, Arnold recalls in her book, was "free and adventurous." Because of her affiliation with the Magnum agency, Arnold photographed numerous celebrities and prominent figures, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, Joseph McCarthy, Marilyn Monroe, and Joan Crawford, in addition to her studies of minority and political subjects. She also covered current events, religious gatherings, fads, and fashions. According to Davis the 1950s was the last decade to be defined by photojournalism before television assumed the role, and Flashback is "a superb collection of some of the decade's most sharp-eyed pictures." He also maintained that "Arnold's prints are so bound up with the 50s, so faithful to the pace and rhythm of the decade, that they exert an irresistible nostalgic attraction." A critic in the New Republic expressed a similar sentiment: "[This] is sharp-eyed, unpretentious photojournalism at its best. Arnold's pictures of the decade of Ike, falsies, McCarthy, Marilyn, and Little Rock (touchstone words she cites in her graceful account of her work) literally tell the stories. . . . The impact of such pictures is not easy or ephemeral: they stick." Village Voice reviewer Eliot Fremont-Smith deemed all the photos in the book "revealing" and some "deeply affecting." He concluded: "This is one of the more rewarding photo books of the year."
In 1973 Arnold made the film Behind the Veil, about harems in Arabia and the position of women in Muslim society. In 1976 she expanded on that theme for her second collection, The Unretouched Woman. In this collection she examines the humor, incongruities, and pathos of the lives of women around the world. "I am a woman and I wanted to know more about women," Arnold stated in her book. "I realize now that through my work . . . I have been searching for myself, my time, and the world I live in." Taken over a span of nearly twenty-five years, the pictures range from peasant women performing backbreaking daily tasks with great dignity to Hollywood actress Joan Crawford putting on makeup. In Ms., Anita Gottlieb found The Untouched Woman an "eloquent, poignant, feast of images." The reviewer added, "Arnold's photographs are formally and technically suberb. In the manner of the best art, they move the heart through the balance of the eye. . . . Reality is enhanced by light but never censored or romanticized." Newsweek critic Walter Clemons labeled the collection "expert photojournalism."
In 1979 Arnold made two trips to China: the first to the more familiar places; the second to remote regions not usually visited by foreigners. The trip resulted in the book In China, a collection of 179 photographs with text under the four headings "Landscape," "People," "Work" and "Living." Fremont-Smith acknowledged that the volume was among "the year's best book 'portraits' of faraway lands," but wondered if the photos were truly representative. "The celebrative factor . . . seems generically to preclude ugliness, poverty, boring routine, anger and landscapes and artifacts that are less than quaintly or arrestingly photogenic," he observed. Beverly Beyette of the Los Angeles Times Book Review had a different view, however, noting that Arnold "does not take picture post-cards. She photographs laundry drying on the balconies of a modern apartment house, a dormitory for women oilfield workers, a demonstration by people out of work in Shanghai." A New York Times Book Review critic called In China "surely one of the handsomest picture books of the year," showing "the most appealing faces since Steichen's Family of Man exhibit."
Arnold followed In China with In America, a photographic look at her native country, Newsweek's Mark Stevens judged it "an enjoyable melting pot of the many styles and races and characters that make up modern America." Her highest achievement in the collection, he said, is "not a single image, but the composite portrait carried away of a vigorous and varied nation." In the collection The Great British, published in England as In Britain, Arnold gathers together a wide selection of photographs she has taken of her adopted country. Ranging from portraits of the queen to candid behind-the-scenes looks at film stars, and from nuns to office workers, the photographs reveal an England of many social and economic strata. "This book," wrote Ardys Kozbial in the Boston Review, "presents a varied, candid look at the British by a practiced, imaginative eye." According to Quentin Crisp, reviewing the book in the New York Times Book Review, "Arnold's camera . . . bestows a keen interest and a kindness on whatever if sees. . . . This is a beautifully produced record, full of sly humor and deep compassion."
"I learned by doing," writes Arnold in her autobiography, In Retrospect. "I began to understand how to approach a subject, how to get close to a subject, and how to search out and try to record the essence of a subject in the 125th part of a second." That talent led Arnold to capture the moment in some historic settings: a meeting held by Malcolm X, and a small group of Russian dissidents assembled in a psychiatric ward "undergoing hydrotherapy intended to cure them of their unorthodox views," according to Guardian writer Peter Lennon. How did Arnold get access to two such closed environments? "She says she works on 'robber's time,' swiftly grabbing shots, often with the subject realizing it," Lennon commented. In the case of the dissidents, Arnold shot through a window when her Russian escort's back was turned.
In 2002 the photographer published Eve Arnold: Film Journal, a collection of images from the 1950s through the 1980s, with many of the photos devoted to the Hollywood stars Arnold was hired to shoot during that era. Indeed, "her list of subjects is long enough to amount to a miniature biographical dictionary of cinema," noted Sunday Times reporter Kevin Jackson, citing portraits of Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift, Marilyn Monroe, Richard Burton, and Elizabeth Taylor. "With few exceptions, they are splendidly done, and if the president of your local camera club sniffs haughtily that some of them . . . are unacceptably soft, then vote him out and re-elect someone who understands that masters and mistresses of their craft know just when and how to break the rules." Not every photo is a glamour shot; Arnold includes a picture of "a boneweary Anne Bancroft on the set of The Pumpkin Eater, taken just days after President Kennedy's assassination," according to Stephen Rees in Library Journal. In the words of Houston Chronicle reviewer Patricia Johnson, "The narrative eloquence of the photos may tell a story of the private person behind the Hollywood glitz."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Arnold, Eve, In Retrospect, Knopf (New York, NY), 1995.
Contemporary Photographers, 3rd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1998.
Boston Review, February, 1992, Ardys Kozbial, review of The Great British, pp. 29-30.
British Journal of Photography, November 21, 1991, pp. 28-29.
Chicago Tribune Book World, December 7, 1980.
Creative Review, August, 2002, review of Eve Arnold Film Journal, p. 59.
Daily Telegraph (London, England), June 29, 2002, Mark Monahan, "Art of Intimacy."
Esquire, August, 1987, p. 120.
Guardian (London, England), May 9, 1996, Ian Mayes, "All about Eve," p. 12; May 5, 1999, Rebecca Smithers, "Photography A-level 'Vital,'" p. 13; November 1, 2000, Peter Lennon, "Moments of Truth," p. 11.
Independent (London, England), October 9, 1997, Mark Irvine, "Eye of Victory," p. S2.
Library Journal, September 15, 1991, p. 53; May 15, 2002, Stephen Rees, review of Eve Arnold: Film Journal, p. 99.
Los Angeles Time Book Review, November 30, 1980, Beverly Beyette, review of In China.
Ms., June, 1977.
New Republic, December 16, 1978, review of Flashback!: The '50s.
New Statesman & Society, November 29, 1991, p. 34.
Newsweek, December 13, 1976; September 25, 1978; December 12, 1983, Mark Stevens, review of In America.
New York Times Book Review, November 23, 1980; December 4, 1983; July 21, 1985; p. 22; December 27, 1987, p. 19; December 1, 1991, Quentin Crisp, review of The Great British, p. 51; February 11, 1996, Rosemary Ranck, review of In Retrospect, p. 23.
Publishers Weekly, September 19, 1980; October 9, 1995, p. 71.
Sunday Times (London, England), October 31, 1999, Beatrice Colin, "Women Who Fired with Magnum," p. 7; July 28, 2002, Kevin Jackson, "Softly, Softly Approach of a Mistress of Image," p. 40.
Times (London, England), September 4, 1987.
Times Educational Supplement, December 6, 1991, p. 27.
Times Literary Supplement, November 14, 1980.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), December 3, 1989, p. 7.
U.S. News and World Report, October 6, 1997, "Eve Arnold," p. 64.
Village Voice, December 13, 1976; September 18, 1978; December 10, 1980.
Wall Street Journal, December 3, 1991, p. A12.
Washington Post Book World, November 30, 1980.
You and Your Camera, May 10, 1979.*