Images are powerful.
But rarely would you claim a photograph changed history.
A nude photograph, at that.
But hey, see for yourself:
Witness Marilyn Monroe: Red Velvet Collection, a traveling art exhibit and auction featuring unpublished snaps from Marilyn’s controversial Playboy spread, now touring the country.
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.
Call it the naked shot seen ‘round the world.
“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 a few years later, where it was repurposed for a calendar — just as Monroe was gaining steam in Hollywood.
The end result? The pic headlined the first issue of Playboy, ensuring Hugh Hefner’s dynasty. Monroe gained notoriety … which caused her movie studio to scuttle a “trampy, revealing” outfit in favor of possibly the most iconic dress in movie history for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
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.
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