Images are powerful.
But rarely would you claim a photograph changed history.
A nude photograph, at that.
But hey, see for yourself:
The Marilyn Monroe: Red Velvet Collection, an art exhibit and auction featuring unpublished snaps from Marilyn’s controversial Playboy shoot, now touring the country and stopping in Chicago next month.
The photos are the work of Limited Runs, an online purveyor of vintage photography.
On display this tour: color separations (The hell’s a color separation? Good question.) and never-before-seen pics from Marilyn Monroe’s 1949 “Red Velvet” photo shoot.
“In 1949 Marilyn knew a pin-up photographer named Tom Kelly,” explains Limited Runs owner Pierre Vudrag. “She agreed to do a nude shoot for him for $50 [laughs] ... if Tom’s wife was in the room during the shoot.”
Kelly sold the artwork to the John Baumgarth Co. in Chicago, where it was repurposed for a calendar just as Monroe was gaining steam in Hollywood.
Then in 1953, a young Chicago entrepreneur by the name of Hugh Hefner bought the photos and built a dynasty around them.
The touring exhibit also features an interactive Marilyn Monroe timeline and additional rare Marilyn pics (some for sale), including a batch done with poet Carl Sandburg, as taken by artist/photographer Len Steckler.
See ‘em in the flesh.