Bert Stern discusses photographing Marilyn Monroe nude in famous “Last Sitting” images (VIDEO)


posted Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 1:43 PM EDT


An upcoming documentary sheds new light on one of Marilyn Monroe's most famous (and most revealing) photo sessions, which took place only six weeks before she died. Called "The Last Sitting," the three-day session was led by photographer Bern Stern and produced a series of now well-known nude and semi-nude shots of the blonde bombshell cavorting in a Los Angeles hotel room. Stern opens up about the experience in the documentary, titled "Bert Stern: Original Madman."

"I would never have taken any nudes of Marilyn if she didn't want to do it," Stern says in the doc, which has made the rounds of the festival circuit the last few years but is set to open in New York on April 5th. "I wasn't out to do nudes, I was out to do pictures. But I didn't know about clothes, I didn't see her in clothes. I saw her with jewelry, or something to cover her a little bit. But it ended up to be more nude than I meant."

See a clip from the movie, which first appeared on Nowness, embedded below.

The 1962 shoot was for Vogue magazine and took place in a suite in the Bel Air Hotel, which Stern had converted into a studio. He believed Monroe would feel more comfortable in the Bel Air, a hotel where she lived off and on for more than a decade during her marriages to Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller. Stern reportedly kept several bottles of vintage Dom Pérignon champagne on ice and sprayed the suite with Chanel No. 5 before the shoot to further put the movie star at ease.

"She picked up this scarf, looked through it, and it was transparent, she could see me," he says about the set-up for one of the most legendary shots from the session. "She understood right away, and said: 'You want to do nudes.' And I said, 'Well that's a good idea.'"

Stern eventually published a book of the shoot, entitled "The Last Sitting." In 2006, an updated version of the book, called "Marilyn Monroe: The Complete Last Sitting," was published and included all 2,571 photos from the three-day Bel Air session with Monroe.

(Via The Daily Mail)