Finding Marilyn Monroe Photos

marilyn monroe hoodie grate

Before a Marilyn Monroe hoodie is made the designer needs to decide on the art to use. Luckily Marilyn Monroe was the most photographed person in history and there is a ton of material to choose from.  Today you can bump into her photos on public collections, stock photo galleries, social networks like Pinterest and all over the internet.

These services collect the rights to as many photos as they can, and then resell the rights to companies that would like to use them.  They are usually expensive and tough to buy the rights to.  Even if you can’t afford rights to a $500 you can still view them all and it can be a great source of inspiration.

If a designer can afford the price they can then print the photo directly onto a sweatshirt or hoodie using printing machines.  Or the designer may choose to edit the photo and add their own twists.  Anything from simple color adjustment to giving Marilyn a set of tattoos.

Getty Images

This is a huge company in stock imagery, and because of their big budget they can afford to buy rights to most Marilyn Monroe photos.  In total they have 9,700 images of Marilyn available.

Browsing through this massive collection is like flipping through Marilyn’s modeling portfolio.  There are some pictures of her youth and personal life, but the focus is on her classic modeling shoots.   You’ll soon recognize the origins of complex designs that are on a favorite Monroe hoodie or sweater.

Magnum Photos

This gallery contains 600 some photos compared to Getty’s 9,700.  The pictures are on average more intimate and personal, its kind of like Magnum’s niche.  You’ll see Marilyn getting interviewed, lifting weights at the gym, relaxing at a picnic–much less modeling shoots.

These pictures are great for artist looking to get a unique angle and twist for hoodie design.  Most of the pictures from shoots have been used to the point where they are recognizable and feel unoriginal.

The Photographers Personal Collections

Marilyn had tons of regular photographers each of which have taken up to hundreds of photos of her.  Many of these photographers have collections online for their work.

Some notable photographers include George Zimbel who took iconic photos of Marilyn Monroe during the dress blown in the air scene.  The film footage never caught the powerful dress blowing like George, its partly because of him that it became so famous.  Some of his pictures are seen on popular Marilyn Monroe hoodie and sweater designs.

Bert Stern is famous for taking the last photo shoot of Marilyn, just 2 months before her death.  This shoot, known as “the last sitting”, has a lot of nudes and captures a playful side of Marilyn(in some pics you can see emptied wine bottles on the floor).  Marilyn is 36 in these photos and they offer a glimpse of what she might have looked like in middle age.

Tom Kelley is a photographer known for taking a nude photo of Marilyn when she was still an out of work actress.  The 1949 photo paid the 23 year old Marilyn only $50 and shows her laying on red velvet.  It later went on to be bought by playboy and be featured as the centerfold.  Despite how famous this photo is I have never seen it on a hoodie, but i’m keeping an eye out.

Putting it all Together

Once a hoodie designer has found a picture they like they can either edit it or print it straight onto the sweatshirt.  The editing process is creative and can spin a simple photo into thousands of variations.  If the designer invests $550 into the rights for a photo, you bet they will try to squeeze as many designs as they can out of it.

Above all it is about the art, making a marilyn monroe sweatshirt or clothing of any kind takes alot of work.  But the process is creative and fun, so its definitely worth a try.

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