Tuesday, February 19, 2008
In 1962, photographer Bert Stern shot a series of photos of Marilyn Monroe that have collectively come to be known as “The Last Sitting.” Taken during several boozy sessions at the Hotel Bel-Air, the photographs are arguably the most famous images ever captured of America’s most famous actress: Monroe, sleepy-eyed and naked, sips from a Champagne glass, enacts a fan dance of sorts with various diaphanous scarves, romps with erotic playfulness on a bed of white linens. Six weeks after she had posed, Monroe was found dead of an apparent barbiturate overdose.
The photos endure partly as artifacts—as the last visible evidence of the living woman (a legacy reinforced by Stern’s decision to publish the contact sheets Monroe herself had crossed out in red marker). But the pictures are also remarkable for the raw truths they seem to reveal. In them, we see an actress whose comedic talents were overshadowed by her sex appeal, a woman who is cannily aware of her pinup status, yet is also beginning to show her 36 years. In many shots, she is obviously drunk. This was an unhappy time for Monroe. Notorious for her on-set antics, she had been publicly lambasted by Billy Wilder after Some Like It Hot, then fired from the production of Something’s Got to Give; she’d endured two recent divorces and, in 1961, a brief stint in a psychiatric ward.
Stern excavated and preserved the poignant humanity of the real woman—beautiful, but also fragile, needy, flawed—from the monumental sex symbol. In our armored, airbrushed age, his achievement feels almost revolutionary.
Forty-six years later, Stern has revisited his classic shots with Lindsay Lohan, another actress whose prodigious fame is not quite commensurate with her professional achievements. Stern, who shot the photos on film rather than digitally, told me he was interested in Lohan because he suspected “she had a lot more depth to her” than one might assume from “those teenage movies.” Indeed, many in the film industry believe that Lohan has yet to pursue projects equal to her gifts. Without putting too fine a point on it, you might say Lohan has, like Monroe, a knack for courting the tabloids and tripping up her career. (Readers will remember that Lohan had her own Billy Wilder moment two summers ago on the set of Georgia Rule.) Stern said the project also grew out of his interest in “controversial women,” or “bad girls,” like “Britney, Paris, and Lindsay.” Monroe was, in a sense, the original tabloid queen.
Though Lohan’s willingness to reprise the photos might seem a sly nod to her scandalous past, the actress offered a straightforward explanation. “I didn’t have to put much thought into it. I mean, Bert Stern? Doing a Marilyn shoot? When is that ever going to come up? It’s really an honor.” During a break in the daylong shoot, Lohan sat cross-legged on a bed in the four-room suite and spoke to me, in that familiar throaty voice with its staccato rhythms, about her abiding obsession with Monroe. Her interest took root a decade ago with multiple viewings of Niagara during the London filming of The Parent Trap. She has even purchased an apartment where Marilyn once lived. “If you saw my house … I have a lot of Marilyn stuff,” she told me, including a huge painting of Monroe.
“It’s eerie,” Lohan said of the painting, a Christmas gift, “because it’s this picture of her, and it’s kind of cartoony, and there’s a big bottle of pills next to her, and they’ve fallen over.” Lohan called Monroe’s suicide “tragic,” and then added, elliptically, “You know, it’s also tragic what just recently happened to someone else.” I asked whether she was referring to Heath Ledger. She nodded: “They are both prime examples of what this industry can do to someone.” Why some and not others, I asked, since it has often seemed that the thrice-rehabbed Lohan might meet a similar fate. Lohan replied with a flicker of annoyance: “I don’t know. I’m not them. But I sure as hell wouldn’t let it happen to me.” Still, one wonders whether Lohan’s participation in this project, given all the spooky parallels, isn’t the photographic equivalent of moving into a haunted house. (Which, in fact, she may have already done.)
Lohan viewed the shoot as a theatrical performance, as a chance to inhabit the role of an idol. “I wanted to portray the book and get it point-on as much as I could, to bring it back to life,” she said. Hence the strict mimesis: scarves, nudity, and all. “Not more than fifteen minutes had passed since she’d arrived, and already she had agreed to take her clothes off!” Stern writes of Monroe in his swaggering introduction to The Complete Last Sitting, the book in which all 2,571 photos have been collected. He might have said the same about Lohan. “I was comfortable with it,” the actress remarked of the nudity (though she did confess to doing “250 crunches” the previous night). All made up, in winged eyeliner and shellacked blonde wig, Lohan, who has returned to her former voluptuousness, at times appeared more Marilyn than the thin, somewhat diminished woman of the original Marilyn photos. “It was very similar, déjà vu you might say, like revisiting an old street,” said Stern.
The original photos, however, were distinguished by an almost claustrophobic intimacy between photographer and muse. In the first session, Stern persuaded the entourage of stylists to leave him alone with Monroe. The shoot thus took on the symbolic (if not the actual) contours of a liaison. The rise of the celebrity industrial complex has rendered this sort of tense pas de deux all but impossible. At the Lohan shoot, the crowd included Lohan’s manager, her security guard, and her younger sister, Ali; a makeup artist and assistant, a hairstylist and assistant, a stylist, a manicurist, a sentry to watch the borrowed diamonds; Stern, his manager, and two photo assistants. Lohan and Stern worked in an adjoining room, while the rest of us hovered outside like groupies at a backstage entrance.
“Here is a woman who is giving herself to the public,” Lohan said, about the Monroe photos, when we spoke the next day by phone. “She’s saying, ‘Look, you’ve taken a lot from me, so why don’t I give it to you myself.’ She’s taking control back.” Like any tabloid veteran, Lohan understands the potency of a photograph, and that the best way to respond to a society that views you only as an image might just be on its own terms.
EUROPE'S FINEST TOPLESS HONEYS
Ava Fiore is a Playboy model and 2002 Golden Gloves champion boxer. She was arrested on Wednesday night on I 80 east in Kimball, Nebraska. P...
Wow Paulina still very perky at 44 ! Read about Paulas interesting childhood escaping the iron curtain THE NILES LESH PROJECT - ALL...
Where: Lekeitio, in the Basque region of Spain. What: Antzar Eguna or "Goose Day" has its roots in at least 350 years of Spanish i...
OSBORN COX? - NOW THAT IS A GREAT NAME !!!
Larry Flynt, the wheelchair bound self-proclaimed "smut peddler" and "1st Amendment Crusader" has published photos of Na...
Eating fresh watermelon could help men pep up their love lives, scientists said yesterday. The fruit has a similar effect to taking Viagra, ...
Austria drew first blood early today when their topless women's football team beat Germany 10-5. The traditional swapping of shirts afte...
Missed it ? - The Archives !
- ► 2010 (80)
- ► 2009 (319)
- http://info.cern.ch/ - THE WORLDS OLDEST WEBSITE
- DICK GREGORY ON BILL CLINTON'S "BLACKNESS"
- AUTOMATED BREAST MASSAGER ???
- Kid's Pimp Suit Costume - Price: $ 39.99 ???
- MIENFOKS POLITICAL ENDORSEMENT - VOTE 4 HECTOR !
- New From Playmobil - Security Check Point
- SACREMENTO KINGS DANCERS PARTY SHOTS !
- HOW THE US ELECTION PROCESS WORKS ?
- BIG ASS COWS !
- Sécrétions Magnifiques perfume - blood, sweat, sal...
- William Frank Buckley, Jr. November 24, 1925 – Feb...
- FINALLY - EYEBALL TATOOS ???
- HOW CAPTAIN KIRK CHANGED THE WORLD ?
- MICROSOFT TAKES A 1.4 BILLION DOLLAR HIT
- MARION COTILLARD - BODY OF WORK
- DIABLO CODY - OLD SCHOOL PHOTOS
- ARE YOU A RACIST ???
- NEWPORT HARBOR - IT'S LIKE A REALITY SHOW ?
- THE NOKIA " MORPH " PHONE ???
- NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN "COIN TOSS" SPOOF
- 80TH ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS
- JENNIFER GARNER - 2008 OSCARS
- HEDI KLUM - 2008 OSCARS
- HILARY SWANK - 2008 OSCARS
- JESSICA ALBA - 2008 OSCARS
- PENELOPE CRUZ - 2008 OSCARS
- ANNE HATHAWAY - 2008 OSCARS
- MARION COTILLARD - 2008 OSCARS
- KATHERINE HEIGL - 2008 OSCARS
- JIMMY KIMMEL - STRIKES BACK !!!
- FOREIGNERS WIN ALL THE ACTING OSCARS !!!
- JENNIFER GARNER - RED CARPET MOMENT
- MILEY CYRUS - HANNA MONTANA - AUDITION TAPE
- MUSICAL SPONGEBOB RECTAL THERMOMETER ?
- HEDI KLUM - WILL BITE YOU ???
- MORE TOO CUTE ANIMAL PHOTOS
- FERGALICIOUS CLEAVAGE - VERSACE - MILAN
- MEGAN FOX - VERSACE SHOW - MILAN
- THE EYE - DIGITALLY ENHANCED ?
- KIERA KNIGHTLEY - HOLLYWOOD MAGIC ?
- WHAT HAPPENS IN THE BILL CLINTON LIBRARY ???
- Heraldists want penis reinstated on military badge...
- SOFIE MONK - AFI LOREAL SHOW -PARIS
- MAGIC LASER ILLUSIONS !!!
- DR SUE JOHANSSEN - HOW TO NOT TO GAG ?
- HAYDEN PANETTIERE - RED LIPSTICK
- DITA VON TEESE - STRIPTEASE
- FAMOUS CORPORATE LOGO HISTORY
- FAMOUS FAMILY PHOTOS
- YOU'RE A L**Y NO G**D M*R F*KER ???
- WACKY SIGNS
- RHIANNA - NAKED IN GERMAN FHM
- WOPPER JR - HONEY, HAVE YOU MET THE KING ?
- BE KIND AND REWIND - TRAILER & CONTROVERSY
- BRITNEY SPEARS - AGE PROGESSION PHOTOS
- CHRISTINA RICCI & REECE WITHERSPOON - "PENELOPE" P...
- THE PERFECT MAN MEETS THE PERFECT WOMAN ?
- MARILYN MONROE - THE CLASSIC ORIGINAL
- JESSICA ALBA "CLASSIC HORROR" LATINA MAGAZINE
- AMY WINEHOUSE - STEALTH TATOO ???
- BRITIAN INVADED BY THE SNAKEHEAD ???
- PRADA UNVEILS NEW "BUTT WINDOW" SKIRT ?
- KATE BECKENSDALE - FEBRUARY ESQUIRE
- WILL YOU TAKE THE 30 DAY SEX CHALLENGE ?
- WHAT IS FIDEL CASTRO DOING NOW ???
- OMG - THE HORROR ! THE HORROR !
- HILLARY 'S TOP TEN CAMPAIGN PROMISES ?
- FINALLY - AN ITUNES HACK - DOUBLETWIST !!!
- NANCY GRACE - CAN'T GET ANY LUV ???
- LINDSAY LOHAN AS MARILYN MONROE ???
- THE BLUE - EYED CONSPIRACY ???
- OUCH - THAT REALLY HURTS !
- ADRIANA LIMA - ELEGANTE ! ! !
- DESPERATE HOUSEWIFE SPANISH LESSONS ?
- SPONGEBONG HEMP PANTS ???
- THE CRAB NEBULA - HUBBLE TELESCOPE PHOTO
- VELVET VULVA PURSE ???
- $140,000 HOT WHEELS CAR ! ! !
- FRANCES BEAN COBAIN - HARPERS BAZAAR
- HOW TO OPEN A BEER BOTTLE ???
- GEMMA ATKINSON - BIKINI PICS
- THE HISTORY OF HEMP 101
- PENIS REDUCTION PILLS ???
- CLASSIC LOCAL COMMERCIAL "BOBS GREATEST HITS"
- CHRIS ROCK "HOW TO NOT GET YOUR ASS KICKED BY THE ...
- KATARINA STIKOUDI - GREEK MAXIM
- AMY SMART - REVEALING NECK LINE ???
- WHAT IS THE FALKIRK WHEEL ???
- MADONNA'S "FILTH AND WISDOM"
- ALL I EVER REALLY WANTED - A GIANT TALKING ROBOT !...
- VENUS POSTER BANNED BY LONDON UNDERGROUND
- JANE FONDA DROPS THE C - BOMB ON THE TODAY SHOW
- BAR REFAELI - SPORTS ILLUSTRATED 2008
- MARISSA MILLER - SPORTS ILLUSTRATED 2008
- HAPPY ST VALENTINE'S DAY ! ! !
- EVANGELINE LILLY (KATE"LOST") PHONE SEX AD
- FINALLY - WHOLESOME SWIMWEAR ! ! !
- FINALLY - FISH FLAVORED BEER ! ! !
- SCARLETT JOHANNSON & NATALIE PORTMAN "GOTHIC" ???...
- GARY COLEMAN'S SECRET MARRAIGE ???
- ▼ February (158)