In his heyday, American celebrity photojournalist Bert Stern was regarded as Hollywood’s original ‘bad boy’ photographer: he lived fast, partied hard and had friends in high places. The now frosty-haired 82-year-old may have slowed down, but his photographs have stood the test of time. Having cut his teeth as an assistant at Look Magazine (where he made friends with another young photographer by the name of Stanley Kubrick), he said he soon found his true calling when he ‘fell in love with an image by Irving Penn in Vogue magazine’. Little did he know he would later be called upon by the fashion mag stalwart to shoot one of the biggest icons of all time.
Running at JAMM Art Gallery until Thursday April 18, ‘Marilyn Monroe by Bert Stern’ features rare images of the troubled starlet taken just six weeks before she passed away in August 1962. ‘It was very sad and unexpected,’ says Stern of her untimely death. Shot at Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, Stern says he opted for a location shoot over the studio because it was more intimate. That vibe is certainly captured in one shot, in which Monroe is seen lying on a bed with Stern sitting next to her, playfully capturing their reflections in the mirror, the foreground littered with empty bottles. Here, he remembers some of the shots.
Exhibition: ‘Marilyn Monroe by Bert Stern’ until April 18 at JAMM Art Gallery, Street 8, Warehouse 11, Building 19, Al Quoz 1 (050 228 8134).
Artist: Bert Stern
Price of works: Dhs95,000 to Dhs165,500