Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Project 66: Series Number 2 - Marilyn and Joe



Marilyn and Joe – An Architectural Metaphor

Project 66: Series Number 2
Tim Mulcahy Photography
July 6, 2016


Act 1: Icons
When the two twisting, award-winning Absolute Towers were completed in Mississauga, Ontario in 2012 the locals accomplished the ultimate in anthropomorphism by dubbing the skyscrapers the "Marilyn Monroe Towers" in recognition of their curvy shape, so reminiscent as they are of the voluptuous bombshell’s sexy physique.

When photographing modern buildings I too often anthropomorphize them in my mind, assigning them personalities or other human traits.  Sometimes I even go beyond personification with my architectural images, imagining stories in which they feature prominently. Such is the case with the Marilyn Monroe Towers.  

After reviewing a series of images I made of these two modern architectural wonders and reading a little background on Ms. Monroe's life I started to recognize in the images of the towers more than mere similarities to Marilyn's curvaceous physique.  An architectural representation of the "twisted" love affair between Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio also began to emerge. To my mind the towers' linkage with Marilyn Monroe, however figuratively (pardon the pun), combined with the obvious twists and turns of their cutting-edge design render the Two Towers unique anthropomorphic devices for illustrating the twisted love affair between these two super celebrities.  

So here is an American romantic tragedy presented in six pictorial acts.


A Twisted Love Affair 

Act 1: Icons

At the time of their introduction Marilyn and Joe were both super stars – two larger-than-life American icons.  After a short romance Joe and Marilyn were joined in matrimony in 1954 in what was dubbed at the time as “The Marriage of the Century”.  However, it wasn't long before marital bliss eroded under the weathering pressure of unrealized, and perhaps unrealistic, expectations.  

Act 2: Subjugation

From the outset Joe expected Marilyn to give up her acting career and to settle in as his demur housewife.  Over the ensuing months he continuously attempted to subjugate her to his vision of the quintessential1950’s home-bound wife.  He became progressively frustrated by her insistence on continuing her very public persona.


Act 2: Subjugation
Act 3: Jealousy 

Accustomed to being the center of attention Joe also quickly became jealous of Marilyn’s popularity, broad sex appeal and ability to snatch the limelight wherever she went.  When he was with Marilyn Joe was repeatedly forced into the background. This shunning only exacerbated the proud baseball legend's growing animosity towards his mate.  The relationship took a serious turn for the worst after Joe, angry about the now classic photo of Marilyn standing on a subway grate with her white halter top accordion dress blowing up over her waist, physically abused her when she returned home from the photo shoot.  Unable to take any more, Marilyn divorced Joe a mere 9 months after their marriage on the grounds of “mental cruelty”. 


Act 3: Jealousy
Act 4: Depression

After their separation and several other failed relationships, including her marriage to playwright Arthur Miller, Marilyn slipped into depression and was forcibly institutionalized.  All of her friends failed to come to her aid.  But Joe, who still harbored a deep abiding love for Marilyn, rescued her from the mental institution yelling at the staff “I’ll give you five minutes to get her out here or I’ll tear this f–king place apart brick by brick.” 


Act 4: Depression
Act 5: Renewal

Her rescue by her hero Joltin' Joe sparked a renewal of their love affair.  Soon afterwards the two allegedly planned to marry again.  Tragically, Marilyn was found dead of an overdose of sleeping pills on August 5, 1962. She was buried on the very date of their planned second union.  


Act 5: Renewal
Act 6: Steadfast 

Devastated, but undeterred by her death, Joe remained steadfast in his love of Marilyn.  She was forever in his heart.  Friends relate that he never stopped thinking or talking about her.  Until his death in 1999 he had roses delivered to her gravesite twice a week - as he had promised her when they were first married.  He never entered another serious relationship and on his deathbed his final words were “I’ll finally get to see Marilyn again.”


Act 6: Steadfast

With just a bit of imagination, I believe that the two have been re-united in Mississauga.