Certain people, places and things seem to draw photographers again and again. Dissecting the attraction of these subjects is a worthy endeavor, and no doubt there are lots of very smart people out there with theories. But I am interested in the ability of certain images to stand in for larger emotions and ideas. It is surprising how these symbols can be used so many times and continue to have resonance, even if the meaning changes. I recently came across a poster of Marilyn Monroe, curled up sexy and naked, framed and hung in the offices of a high-end cosmetic dermatologist. The message was clear, in this office, we value and aim to provide the pinnacle of female sexual beauty. Marilyn is always the symbol of ultimate indulgence in female form. But she is also a symbol of emptiness, that can come when only the physical is valued. Sometimes even cliches can cut to the bone.

Marilyn

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