I love this photo of Marilyn Monroe looking in such seeming wonder at "The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer" by Edgar Degas.
I never went through that youthful phase of admiring Marilyn Monroe and all her white-dress splendor. When I was 25, I began to take stock of the large quantity of candids that show Marilyn reading books. I began to develop a quiet admiration for her, a black and white fascination. Her innocence and curiosity became so suddenly clear to me. It seems to me to be something that belonged so privately to her, one of the only things that was hers alone, and so I don't really pry much at it or try to learn much about her.
I do have two books of pictures of Marilyn that I really love: "Marilyn, August 1953: the lost Look photos by John Vachon", and "Marilyn Monroe: NYC, 1955," by Peter Mangone. Their titles say it all. Two portfolios of candids capturing Marilyn in complete candor: the first over the course of a month, the second over the course of a few stolen moments on a sidewalk in New York City.
They are simple to intake, to be looked at quietly and calmly and taken at face value for what they are. The pictures themselves are mysterious, have their guard up, and seem to protect and house what was Marilyn's and Marilyn's alone.