Born Eve Cohen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1912, Arnold began her photography career in 1946, while working at the Stanbi Photos plant in New Jersey. Largely self-taught, she studied photography with Alexei Brodovitch at the New School for Social Research in New York in 1948. Her first photo story which documented African-American fashion shows in Harlem, New York, was published in Picture Post in 1951. The story launched her career and attracted the attention of Henri Cartier-Bresson, co-founder of Magnum Photos. Arnold joined the agency in the same year, later becoming the first woman to become a full member in 1957.
Many recently published tributes and obituaries have focused on Arnold’s portraits of the famous made during her subsequent remarkable career: from Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich, Clark Gable, and Malcolm X; to Marilyn Monroe, the subject of a decade long collaboration and monograph. However Arnold will also be remembered by many as an ardent social campaigner; a critic of McCarthyism, apartheid, and poverty; and an iconic portrait photographer of all people.