Sam Shaw is known for the celebrated photographs he took of Marilyn Monroe, whom he met in the early 1950's, when he was working as a photographer on the set of "Viva Zapata". They became close friends and Marilyn drove Sam to the set every morning. The period 1954 to 1958 was a time when Marilyn tried to shed her blonde sex bombshell image and moved to New York to study acting. Sam's photographs show the screen icon in some of her happiest, off-guard moments, cuddling with playwright Arthur Miller, who became her third husband in 1956, shopping in Manhattan or splashing at the beach in Amagansett, NY. In 1954, it was Sam who suggested the famous sequence of Marilyn's skirt blown up over a street grate, in "The Seven Year Itch". When asked about Sam, Marilyn said, "He always makes me look my best". When asked about Marilyn, Sam explained, "I just want to show this fascinating woman, with her guard down, at work, at ease offstage, during joyous moments in her life and as she often was - alone". In January 2014, the publication by Newsweek of Marilyn's scrapbook disclosed further details about their personal relationship.
Sam Shaw's photographic archives cover over 60 years of American history, from social essays, film documentation, icon figures and legendary personalities. His work has been exhibited internationally, in museums, galleries and art fairs, has been included in numerous traveling exhibitions and is in important institutional and private collections.
Photographs © The Estate of Sam Shaw