Category: look magazine

Elizabeth Taylor photographed by Douglas Kirkland, 1961.

Her tracheotomy scar from an emergency procedure due to pneumonia that left her unable to breathe during the filming of Cleopatra in Rome is clearly visible. 

Douglas Kirkland: “This is the image which started my career photographing celebrities. I was a young photographer at Look magazine and I was sent to Las Vegas to sit on an interview Elizabeth was giving to a journalist. She has said yes to the interview but no picture. She has not been seen for a while and had has a tracheotomy as result of being ill during the first attempt to shoot Cleopatra. After the interview I went up to her and held her hand and said:,‘it is wonderful to meet you. My name is Douglas Kirkland, I am new with this magazine, can you imagine what it would mean to me if you let me photograph you’ I did not let go of her hand, she wore jungle gardenia perfume which I could smell later on, she thought for a while and said “Come back tomorrow at 8pm.’” 

On the evening November 17th, 1961, in Los Angeles , Douglas Kirkland photographed Marilyn Monroe. He was a freshman photographer, 24 years old
with a huge crush on Marilyn (like most men had), on his first major assignment for “Look” magazine, and Marilyn was Hollywood ‘s sexiest star. She was
35 years old, and this was just one year before her untimely death. The photo session was being taken for Look Magazines 25th Anniversary cover. Douglas Kirkland photographed Marilyn in the intimate confines of an unmade bed. The result is a series of some of the most spontaneous and beguiling photographs ever taken of Marilyn.

I was a mess.. a mess. There I was, a kid in my mid twenties, trying to make my mark, trying to imagine some way to approach the biggest star in the world in an entirely new way. It obviously had to be eye-catching, but I wanted a more overt and honest depiction of her than perhaps she was accustomed to showing. Being Canadian in principle and Midwestern in culture though, it wasn’t easy to form the words ‘Marilyn.. I want you undressed.’” – Douglas Kirkland