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Gentlemen Prefer Blondes starring Marilyn Monroe: an Exhibition

The latest exhibition at the Little Black Gallery stars Marilyn Monroe, and features the work of photographers Milton H. Greene and Douglas Kirkland

The latest exhibition to grace the walls of SW10’s Little Black Gallery is entitled Gentlemen Prefer Blondes starring Marilyn Monroe, and features two photographers’ portraits of the legendary Hollywood beauty.

Milton H. Greene (1922-1985) was one of the most celebrated photographers in the world, and had been honing his craft since the age of 14. By the time he first met Monroe in 1953 on assignment for Look Magazine, Greene was known as “Colour Photography’s Wonder Boy”, and his talent had attracted the attention of Life, Look, Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country and Vogue.

By the end of their four-year relationship, Greene had photographed the blonde bombshell in 52 different settings, producing more than 5,000 images – some of which have never been published.

"Naturally, there are times when every woman likes to be flattered... to feel she is the most important thing in someone's world. Only a man can paint this picture." – Marilyn Monroe

In contrast, Douglas Kirkland’s relationship with Marilyn was more ‘up-close-and-personal’. In 1961, the star invited the then 27 year-old photographer to come to bed with her. The result? His famous photograph series ‘An Evening With Marilyn Monroe’, sensual, intimate and spontaneous images taken by a man who was, at that time, a mere rookie.

Kirkland (whose photography went on to be displayed in the permanent collection of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The Smithsonian, The National Portrait Gallery Canberra Australia, The National Portrait Gallery London, The Eastman House in Rochester, The Houston Centre for Photography and The Anneberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles) described his evening with Marilyn as “a beautiful dance” and credits the tension-filled atmosphere for his stunning photographs.

Now, you can see the different sides to Hollywood’s golden girl in this series of beautiful photographs, on display at the Little Black Gallery until 27 February.

19 January–27 February, The Little Black Gallery, 13A Park Walk, SW10