Born in 1912, Sam Shaw began working as a photographer on film sets in the 1950s. He worked on A Streetcar Named Desire(1951) and photographed Marlon Brando in a ripped t-shirt, which came to symbolize the film. Around this time, Shaw met and photographed Marilyn Monroe, and the two formed a lasting friendship. Shaw captured numerous images of Monroe both on and off the set. He later produced Paris Blues (1961) as well as several films by John Cassavetes. Shaw died in 1999.
Because of the photographers like Sam Shaw, today, we are able to get to know behind the scenes of some of the most classic movies from 1950-60s. I always enjoed watching any kind of ‘making of’ series, whether it’s behind the scenes of a movie, TV show or music videos. Finding out about Shaw’s work was really eye opening for me. As we can see in his pictures, Shaw recognized the need of publicity over 65 years ago. He photographed famous movie stars and sets accordingly to the needs of promoting the movie he was shooting for. Some of his work, like an iconic photograph of Marilyn Monroe in her white dress, is most probably known by everybody who knows anything about this movie star.
I hope this post encourages the readers to explore Shaw’s work further, and from now on will associate his name with some of the most photographs he’s ever taken.
– Paulina Szczepanska