Books & Books, Coral Gables. Oct 22, 2011. 7:00 p.m.
Sam Shaw (New Yorker, b. January 15, 1912 d. April 5, 1999) was born and raised on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Internationally recognized for his photographs of films and movie stars, his interests and talents covered a wide array of subjects including music, theater, sculpture, painting, literature, journalism, and social and political activism. Shaw’s prolific six-decade career is remarkable in its breadth and diversity, and remains a historic record of the twentieth century.
Shaw was also an early contributor to the prestigious photographic agency, Magnum Photos. By the 1950’s, he had initiated photo-coverage of films, capturing countless stars of the cinema, including Woody Allen, Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, Warren Beatty, Alfred Hitchcock, Fred Astaire, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Charlie Chaplin, Sean Connery, Jules Dassin, Dennis Hopper, Audrey Hepburn, Frank Sinatra, and many more. His photographs often appeared on the cover of Life and Look magazines, as well as in Paris Match, Europeo, The Daily Mail, Der Stern, Harper’s Bazaar, and Connaissance des Arts.
He was a master of publicity for many of the films and stars he worked with. In 1951, he photographed Marlon Brando in a ripped t-shirt, a portrait that came to symbolize A Streetcar Named Desire. A few years later, he created the iconic image of Marilyn Monroe with her white skirt blowing over a subway grate in the film The Seven Year Itch. Shaw’s “Flying Skirt” picture is one of the most widely seen photographs ever taken!
In the 1960’s, Shaw started producing films, working closely with actor-director John Cassavetes, who is widely acknowledged to be the father of American independent cinema. Cassavetes aptly described Shaw as a “Renaissance Man”. However, Shaw’s true love always remained photography. Wherever he was Shaw carried multiple cameras around his neck.
For many years Lorie Karnath traveled the world with Shaw, collaborating on a number of writing, film, and photography projects. It was a mutual spirit of exploration and discovery that brought the two together. Throughout the course of their travels, Karnath, who often served as muse for storyboards and far-flung photo sessions, and Shaw held an ongoing dialogue on his special perspective on the world-at-large through the camera lens.
Lorie Karnath is the thirty-seventh President of the Explorers Club, the second woman to hold this position in the club’s 106-year history. Karnath focuses much of her effort on the fields of science and education, conceiving and implementing many programs that foster creativity, discovery, and the sciences. An avid explorer from a very young age, Karnath has lived in the Borneo rainforest, traveled much of the Silk Road, and has led numerous expeditions to the far corners of the world in search of answers to some of the planet’s most elusive questions.
She is also a writer of many international publications, including Nobel Journey: Nobel Laureates in Portraits (2004), the children’s book Wohin geht die Sonne, wenn ich schlafe? (Where Does the Sun Go While I Sleep?, 2006), The Return of the Storks (2008), Eine kurze Geschichte des Vermessens (The Book of Measurement, 2008) and Verwegene Frauen (2009), a book on women explorers.
This event is presented in collaboration with The Shaw Family Archives, LTD., maintained by Edith Marcus and Meta Shaw.
Books & Books, Coral Gables
265 Aragon Avenue
Coral Gables, FL 33134