Scott Gray, Managing Director of the World Photography Organisation comments: “Over such an incredible life and long career it is difficult to imagine what Eve Arnold did not capture on film, and what she did capture are some of the most abiding images of our time. We are proud and honoured to celebrate her life and work at this year’s Sony World Photography Awards.”
Zelda Cheatle, curator and close friend of Eve Arnold, added: “Eve is utterly delighted to be honoured with this award. For someone who began working in a tough world she never lost sights of her femininity and used her intelligence and powers of observation to succeed. I am still full of admiration for someone who shows such determination, perseverance and courage.”
Eve Arnold began working as a photographer in the early 1950s. Having worked at a film processing plant in New York, and then studying under Alexei Brodovitch, the art director of Harper’s Bazaar, she approached Magnum with a series of work she had taken of migrant labourers in Long Island. She was one of the first women to be taken on by the agency, first as a stringer and then, in 1954, as a full member, working under the tutorage of founders Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa. Fascinated by social commentary from the start, one of her earliest photo stories to be published was of black models at a fashion show in Harlem. She became involved in the civil rights movement, with Malcolm X personally choosing her to follow him on his tours. From early in her career, Arnold photographed a host of stars including Marilyn Monroe, Joan Crawford, Marlene Deitrich and Isabella Rossellini all of whom became close friends. She travelled the world extensively, photographing in China, Russia, South Africa and Afghanistan. She moved to London in 1960 with her son and became a regular contributor to the Sunday Times. Eve Arnold, who still lives in London, continued to photograph well into the nineties and addressed writing her books, in particular In Retrospect and Film Journal, editing her work and preparing all her archive. She captioned, dated and signed every one of her prints (amounting to thousands) and continued to be an active voting member of Magnum.
A retrospective of Eve Arnold’s work, drawn from the Tosca Photography Fund Collection and curated by Zelda Cheatle, will be exhibited in Cannes (22-27 April) as part of the World Photography Festival which will include workshops, portfolio reviews, student programmes and talks from World Photography Academy members and respected figures of the international photographic community.
The accolade, which was awarded last year to the French photographer, Marc Riboud, was created to honour a photographer for a lifetime of widely recognised and critically acclaimed work.