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Stars in her eyesEve Arnold has seen some things Shes seen Marilyn Monroe brush her pubic hair Shes seen political dissidents tortured in psychiatric hospitals in Soviet Russia Shes seen Andy Warhol unable to turn on his camera to make his first film at the Factory Shes been to the Sahara with James Stewart and to Inner Mongolia with Buddhist monks Shes faced down Joe McCarthy and got under the skin of Malcolm X Better yet her photographs have allowed us to construct the world through her eyes to see what she has seen She is 90 now and her eyes are a little cloudy with age She hasnt picked up a camera for five years but she says she still sees pictures everywhere she looks makes them inside her head In her mansion flat in Mayfair her sustaining light coming in through big windows I ask if that makes her feel frustrated or liberated It makes me feel just that its over she says That I have done as well as I could Or Ive done it Period The top floor flat has been her home for 40 years She sits at her crowded desk and occasionally calls for her assistant and friend Lin Campbell to pass her a book or a letter she wants to refer to Arnold is impeccably stylish still though she has recently suffered a fall and her broken wrist is mending in a sling Her work these days she says is mainly to sift through her archive of memory hoping she can still surprise herself I find going back through things sometimes exhilarating because I find things I didnt know I had she says and sometimes its very offputting because there are things I never quite finished and theres nothing at all to do about it now On those days I feel as though my children have gone and left me She smiles a little at nothing in particular
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