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The amiably spontaneous pictures taken by Sam Shaw (1912–1999) are well known: the native and life-long New Yorker shot countless cover photographs for Life and Look in the fifties and sixties, and later also took the still images for the films he produced himself. Shaw and Marilyn Monroe were friends, and he captured her unique aura in countless unpretentious portraits. During the filming of The Seven Year Itch, he staged his probably best known picture with her: Marilyn standing over a subway grate, a waft of air blowing the skirt of her white dress above her knees.

Sam Shaw also portrayed almost every major Hollywood star of his day, consistently capturing the moment in his quest for truthfulness, with enthusiasm and from a new perspective, just as if he were selecting the camera angle for a film sequence. The researcher and author Lorie Karnath, the book’s editor, enhances the publication with very personal memories of her long-time friend. (official text by Hatje Cantz)


This book is the most glamorous book I had designed in 2010. It is about the work of this incredible photographer, who had created some of the most famous Hollywood portraits ever.
To bring out this glamour, and the sense of the fifties and sixties, the dark grey linen cover is graced with the stemped golden title.
The title picture of beautiful Marilyn Monroe is glued directly on to the cover.
The light beige spine ribbon matches the golden title and the light beige endpapers.
As a glamorous typeface with an American appearence, I chose PTL Skopex Serif by Andrea Tinnes.
The main idea of the layout is to give the photographs a much importance and space as possible. They are sometimes pushing the text, to get their room.
The bodytext is organized in sections that are matching the images, so the reader can always find more information about each image, or just the short captions. In this way, he can decide, how much information he wants.
The composition is very classical, with centered headlines and captions, but also justified bodytext.

My regards go to Lorie Karnath, the Shaw Family Archives, Ltd., and Clemens von Lucius and Tas Skorupa from the great team of the Hatje Cantz Berlin office, Christine Emter (Hatje Cantz Ostfildern), and to my (now) assistant Hannes Aechter.

English (ISBN 978-3-7757-2695-5)
German (ISBN 978-3-7757-2694-8)

Hatje Cantz, 2010
240 pp., 199 ills. in duotone
23,5 x 31,5 cm

Hatje Cantz