Marilyn Monroe during the filming of The Misfits, 1960 © Eve Arnold/Magnum Photos
This is a response by Divya Rao Heffley to May 2014

On the surface, this picture for me is about two women doing their jobs: Eve Arnold photographing; Marilyn beautifying. But something in the body language of this image strikes me as uncomfortable. What could Marilyn possibly be looking at with the mirror held so close to her face? And why does her hand read like such a claw as she grasps the handle? It is almost as if the mirror is a shield, used to protect herself from the outside world (which, as we know, was often tumultuous for Marilyn). But it’s more than that. Despite the provocative clothing that begs for the viewer to continue looking, and the raised seating that puts the Hollywood idol up on a pedestal, her pose strikes me as an innately defensive one. Knees squeezed together, elbows in, anxiety all over the beautiful face. Is it the proximity of the photographer, or something more, that has Marilyn so worried? And, if the mirror is a shield, is the camera the weapon?