A key personality in the history of lifestyle and journalism in the twentieth century
Monday, 17 December 2018,
by Barbara Rodeschini
The first woman to become part of Magnum Photos, the world’s leading photographic agency, Eve Arnold was a key personality in the history of lifestyle and journalism in the twentieth century. The daughter of Russian immigrants, Eve Arnold became a photographer almost by chance. Thanks to her ability to fluctuate between the glamour of Hollywood and social themes, the photographer was the most brilliant expression of a generation that, through pictures, knew how to tell and describe a constantly evolving world. From Malcolm X to Marilyn Monroe, from travel reportage to fashion, Eve Arnold was one of the most prolific and transversal photographers of her time. One of the first photographers to be allowed into China, the American artist always took a closer look at contemporaneity and was the name behind some highly important documentations, such as Woman Behind The Veil, the first real iconic journey into the lives of women in Arabian countries in the hammams and harems. An unexpected story of the beauty and contradictions of wearing the veil in the Gulf area that comprises authentic shots as well as a documentary film, the only one that the photographer made in 1971. Passion and sensitivity are the distinctive features of a work that she often described as «What you need to be a good photographer is an over- whelming curiosity and a good digestion. Sometimes you feel blessed with curiosity, sometimes you feel cursed with it.» And it is exactly curiosity and the desire to give voice to the most secret and least talked of aspects at that time in the Arabian world that lie at the base of Woman Behind The Veil, a collection of shots that only the empathic eyes of a woman could have documented in such a true way, as Arnold herself explained, «I wanted to be a photographer who was also a woman and I wanted the world to open up in front of my camera, I wanted to use my personality and my female instinct to interpret what I was photographing.