Eve Arnold was born Eve Cohen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the middle of nine children born to immigrant Russian-Jewish parents, William Cohen (born Velvel Sklarski), a rabbi, and his wife, Bessie (Bosya Laschiner). Her interest in photography began in 1946 while working for Kodak in their Fair Lawn NJ photo-finishing plant. Over six weeks in 1948, she learned photographic skills from Harper's Bazaar art director Alexey Brodovitch at the New School for Social Research in Manhattan. She married Arnold Schmitz (later Arnold Arnold) in 1941.
Eve Arnold photographed many of the iconic figures who shaped the second half of the twentieth century, yet she was equally comfortable documenting the lives of the poor and dispossessed, "migrant workers, civil-rights protestors of apartheid in South Africa, disabled Vietnam war veterans and Mongolian herdsmen." Her joyful picture of a Cuban couple with their child was selected in 1955 for the world-touring Museum of Modern Art exhibition The Family of Man and seen by 9 million visitors. For Arnold, there was no dichotomy: "I don't see anybody as either ordinary or extraordinary,"
she said in a 1990 BBC interview, "I see them simply as people in front of my lens."
Arnold was particularly noted for her work using available light, concentrating on the image in the lens and eschewing extensive use of photographic lighting and flash. Of this she said "By the time you set up lights the image is gone"
in a Guardian interview in 2000.
Arnold's images of Marilyn Monroe on the set of The Misfits (1961) were perhaps her most memorable, but she had taken many photos of Monroe from 1951 onwards. Her previously unseen photos of Monroe were shown at a Halcyon Gallery exhibition in London during May 2005. She also photographed Queen Elizabeth II, Malcolm X, Marlene Dietrich, and Joan Crawford, and traveled around the world, photographing in China, Russia, South Africa and Afghanistan. Arnold left the United States and moved permanently to England in the early 1970s with her son, Francis Arnold. While working for the London Sunday Times, she began to make serious use of color photography.
In 1980, she had her first solo exhibition, which featured her photographic work done in China at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City. In the same year, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Magazine Photographers. In 1993, she was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, and elected Master Photographer by New York's International Center of Photography.
She did a series of portraits of American First Ladies. In 1997, she was appointed a member of the Advisory Committee of the National Media Museum (formerly the Museum of Photography, Film & Television) in Bradford, West Yorkshire. She was appointed an Honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2003.
She lived in Mayfair for many years until her last illness, when she moved to a nursing home in St George's Square, Pimlico. When Anjelica Huston asked if she was still doing photography, Arnold replied: "That's over. I can't hold a camera any more."
She said she spent most of her time reading such writers as Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Thomas Mann and Leo Tolstoy.
Arnold died in London on January 4, 2012, aged 99.
Eve Arnold was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Russian immigrant parents. She began photographing in 1946, while working at a photo-finishing plant in New York City, and then studied photography in 1948 with Alexei Brodovitch at the New School for Social Research in New York.
Arnold first became associated with Magnum Photos in 1951, and became a full member in 1957. She was based in the US during the 1950s but went to England in 1962 to put her son through school; except for a six-year interval when she worked in the US and China, she lived in the UK for the rest of her life.
Her time in China led to her first major solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in 1980, where she showed the resulting images. In the same year, she received the National Book Award for In China and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Magazine Photographers.
In later years she received many other honours and awards. In 1995 she was made fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and elected Master Photographer - the world's most prestigious photographic honour - by New York's International Center of Photography. In 1996 she received the Kraszna-Krausz Book Award for In Retrospect, and the following year she was granted honorary degrees by the University of St Andrews, Staffordshire University, and the American International University in London; she was also appointed to the advisory committee of the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television in Bradford, UK. She has had twelve books published.
Eve passed away in January of 2012.
Source: Magnum Photos