John Vachon was a documentary photographer who had worked for
Look Magazine for 5 years when he was given the assignment to go to
Canada because three movies were being filmed at the same time in
Vachon spent 2 weeks in Canada and a couple of days shooting
Marilyn while she filmed River of No Return. He took over 100
photos of her in black and white and colour. The books also
includes personal letters than Vachon wrote to this wife back home
which detail daily activities.
The photos Vachon was the most excited about were some of the
first shots of Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio together. They had
been dating for over a year and were yet to marry.
Unfortunately, Vachon's hard work did not land him a cover story.
In fact, Marilyn was bumped from the cover because they wanted to
use her in their holiday issue in November. The Vachon story
was reduced to a couple of pages buried at the back and it featured
only 3 of the photos he took of Marilyn. It appeared in the
October 20, 1953 issue. Look brought in a new fashion
photographer to handle the Monroe assignment for the next issue, his
name was Milton Greene.
Finally, these lost photos taken by Vachon are available to fans
in this great book. There is 23 pages of text describing the
circumstances of how Vachon came to shoot Marilyn. This is
followed on pages 25-97 by photos. All of them are in black in
white which is disappointing since the book mentions colour photos
exist too. The book reminds me a bit of the complete last
sitting since many shots are included with just slight variations.
The book finishes with 10 pages of letters by Vachon.
Unfortunately, they have no insight into what it was really like
shooting her as most of them take place before his sitting with her.
In summary, I think this is a great book for those who enjoy rare
photos. Most of the photos in this book I had not seen before.
P.S. Be sure to look behind the dust jacket to see the gorgeous
book cover shown.
You can order this book below through Amazon...