These photographs taken by Ed Clark of Marilyn Monroe hiking in the woods in 1950 are considered to be iconic and rare because they show a different side of the actress than what was typically seen at the time. At the time of the photoshoot, Monroe was still relatively unknown, having only appeared in a few small film roles and was still building her career. She was not yet the iconic Hollywood star that she would become.
Clark was a photographer for Life magazine and was assigned to take photographs of Monroe for an upcoming feature on her. Rather than taking her to a studio and posing her in front of a backdrop, Clark decided to take her out of the city and into the woods for a more natural and relaxed photo shoot. This decision was a significant departure from the standard practice of the time, which was to photograph Hollywood actresses in carefully posed and highly stylized settings.
The photographs that resulted from the photoshoot in the woods are considered to be some of the first images of Monroe that were published in a national magazine. They show her hiking in the woods, wearing a casual outfit and a backpack, and smiling and laughing. These photographs helped to establish Monroe’s image as the “girl next door” and helped to boost her career.
In these photographs, Monroe is seen as a natural, carefree and relatable person, which helped to make her more relatable to her audience. They are considered iconic as they captured a moment when Monroe was still relatively unknown and on the cusp of becoming a major Hollywood star. They have also been a source of inspiration for photographers, as these photographs are considered a masterclass in capturing natural beauty and candid moments.