La otra Marilyn / Luz negra

“Marilyn Monroe, Actress, New York City” (1957), Richard Avedon

Nunca vimos tan distinta a Marilyn Monroe como a través de los ojos de Richard Avedon. Siempre rubia, elegantemente vestida y maquillada, la diva mira hacia abajo, no de frente a la cámara, aun cuando se sabe observada. Sus ojos, otras veces seductores, se revelan distintos ante nosotros.

La escasa profundidad de campo limita su foco al semblante de la modelo, sumiéndola en un espacio vacío y agudizando el sentimiento desolador de la imagen. Producto de la apertura del diafragma y de la longitud del objetivo, la dorada cabellera con la que Monroe es recordada pierde nitidez en el encuadre. Sólo se muestra con detalle el mechón que cuelga sobre su frente.

Bajo el nombre “Marilyn Monroe, Actress, New York City” (1957), la imagen pertenece al catálogo del Museo Metropolitano de Arte de Nueva York (Met). Ningún título habría sido capaz de sintetizar la atmósfera ahí aprisionada.

La silueta de su cuerpo —que otras veces adquiere un importante peso— se ve ahora relegada por la expresión dominante en su rostro, una mezcla de desconcierto y la nada. Sólo después de mirarlo nos atrevemos a asomarnos brevemente hacia abajo para descubrir el escote pronunciado y el brillo de las lentejuelas en el que se adivina una fuente de luz, arriba, de frente, sobre la actriz.

Avedon tuvo dos caminos distintos en el ejercicio fotográfico. Realizó asombrosas sesiones de moda en las que el glamour se manifestaba en el movimiento de telas y de modelos que brincaban mientras él dirigía. En el segundo campo, disfrutó de capturar con su lente la verdadera personalidad de quienes posaban para él: amigos, familiares y artistas.

Consciente de que la presencia de una cámara modifica la actitud de las personas, Avedon tuvo la paciencia para esperar el momento propicio en el que la personalidad emergió a la superficie. Nunca terminó por completo el último rollo de la sesión, pues guardaba espacio para emplearlo en imágenes como ésta: cuando el retratado ya no se creía observado.

Parte de una serie realizada con Monroe, la diferencia entre el resto de las imágenes es evidente. El mismo Avedon comentó en varias ocasiones cómo el brillo que parecía destilar la actriz en las primeras fotografías se terminó de modo repentino, sumiéndola en la sensación aquí admirada.

La fecha en que fue tomada —6 de mayo de 1957— revela la creciente decadencia en la vida de la actriz, una dificultad surgida de una infancia difícil. Esta situación continuaría tres meses después con un fallido embarazo (con lo que aumentaría su adicción al alcohol y a los barbitúricos) y terminaría con su misterioso deceso cinco años más tarde. Richard Avedon captura un sentimiento de conmovedora autenticidad, la reacción instintiva de una mirada que ya no pretende mirar de frente y se entrega de lleno al vacío.

| RMM | GSS | Luz negra | @Versalisima |

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