The last page of Ulysses

Photographer Eve Arnold had a long and productive life: she died in London in January 2012, aged 99. I was honored to meet her  a few years before she passed on. She took hundreds of photos of Marilyn Monroe, and is responsible for a remarkable 1955 color photo of Marilyn Monroe reading the last chapter of «Ulysses» by James Joyce in a Long Island playground. There is a gentle irony in MM’s choice of the last chapter.

In «Joyce and Popular Culture», R.B. Kershner quotes a letter from Arnold about the day she took the shot:

We worked on a beach on Long Island… I asked her what she was reading when I went to pick her up (I was trying to get an idea of how she spent her time). She she kept «Ulysses» in her car and had been reading it for a long time. She said she loved the sound of it and would read it aloud to herself to try to make sense of it – but she found it hard going. She couldn’t read it consecutively. When we stopped at a local playground to photograph she got out the book and started to read while I loaded the film. So, of course, I photographed her.

(From:, 2012-01-06)