Little I knew about him; only that he had Romanian roots (well, born in Transylvania, while this province was under Hungarian administration). I am afraid I never knew he was Marylin Monroe’s photographer, and apparently, his lover at ne point in her youth.
Andre de Dienes, one of the first and perhaps most renowned photographers of Marilyn, was born in Transylvania in 1913. Tragically at the age of fifteen his mother committed suicide, driving a young de Dienes to pack up and leave home, heading west across Europe in 1928, mostly on foot until he arrived in Tunisia in the north of Africa.
He made a basic income from being an odd job man, turning his hand to whatever he could to raise a few coins and also it was in this time his artistic side began to flourish as he learned how to paint. And also it was at this point in history where a crucial turning point can be marked; de Dienes purchase of his first camera, a 35mm Retina.
He continued on his travels, venturing across Europe he arrived in Paris in the year 1933 to study art, and shortly after another notable purchase can be mentioned, his second camera, a Rolleiflex. Perhaps this was the turning point for de Dienes to now want to capture the subject of his artwork with a simple, yet complex machine that captures an image onto film, rather than a humble paintbrush and pencils. And the switch paid off; he became totally fascinated with photography which in the end he turned into his living.
He worked for publishing companies such as the communist newspaper La Humanite, and was also under the employment of The Associated Press until 1936, when Parisian couturier Captain Molyneux saw his work and urged him to take up a role as a fashion photographer.
A gallery consisting of his shots of Marylin in her prime can be seen here.