Portfolio II


October 1954 – Perhaps Milton and Marilyn’s most recognizable series of images, the Ballerina Sitting, was named by Time magazine in 1999 as one of the top three photographs of the 20th century, alongside Philippe Halsman’s photo of Albert Einstein and Yousuf Karsh’s Winston Churchill. Taken in Milton’s New York studio, Marilyn is wearing an ill-fitting tulle and satin dress. The design of the dress has been commonly attributed to Anne Klein, a close personal friend of the Greenes whose clothes Milton frequently borrowed. However, it was actually created by another New York designer, Herbert Kasper, while working for 7th Avenue fashion manufacturer Arnold-Fox. Milton also used Kasper’s designs at various times during the 1950s. The fitting error was because Milton’s wife, Amy, did not know Marilyn’s actual dress size, as they had yet to shop together. Apparently, the dress was two sizes too small, requiring Marilyn to hold up the front bodice.

Gold Dress

October, 1954 – Taken the day after the Ballerina images, Milton made an effort to keep Marilyn focused and occupied. Now living full-time in New York, Marilyn was living life like she should: going to jazz clubs, enjoying great theater and studying her craft. 


September, 1953 – In the second ensemble from their first collaboration, Marilyn is wearing a negligee adorned with fur and a diamond bracelet. Because of her sprained ankle, most of the pictures that they did together over those three days had Marilyn sitting, kneeling or lying on the floor.

Red Sitting

January 1957 – Photographed for Life magazine, this series produced several memorable images. Appropriately entitled the Red Sitting, these photos display the playful eroticism that was apparent in all their work together. Milton did something during this shoot he rarely did, setting up his strobe bank light and adding a 10K tungsten spotlight, which bathed her in a golden yellow glow. The January 1957 sitting in that simple red dress would be their last assignment together.


March 1955 – Imbibing spirits, Milton and Marilyn holed up in his New York studio to create this loose and relaxed series of images. Marilyn is wearing matching trousers and jacket designed by Jax of Hollywood. This retro style for a 1950s modern woman became a signature look for Marilyn. Marilyn hated wearing high heels. Her personal preference was to go barefoot or to wear a simple pair of flats.