"In 1950 Life photographer Ed Clark received a call from an executive at 20th Century Fox lauding a "hot tomato" the studio had signed. She was an unknown named Marilyn Monroe. Clark photographed her later that year in Los Angeles' Griffith Park. Never-used negatives from the shoot were recently discovered.
Life has put eighteen of the shots on their website, part of an ongoing effort to digitize their entire photo archive. Clark is quoted in one of the captions as saying because she was an unknown at the time, he got to spend a lot of time shooting her in the park, a shoot in which she read poetry during her breaks. The only clue to why the photos were never published comes via an editor's note found with the negatives in the archives that read, "this take was over-developed and poorly printed."
I know I'm not the only woman who relates to Marilyn on some level. Whether it's enduring an abusive childhood or being seen simply as a body or an object, many women feel a sad kinship with Marilyn. She was more than just the icon with her skirt flying up and the bedroom eyes. I've studied and appreciated her since I was 10 years old and felt some sort of strange connection. These photos are indeed a wonderful find. There is a real sweetness in her eyes, that eventually died...before she did.