Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Elizabeth Lee Miller

Elizabeth "Lee" Miller, Lady Penrose: acclaimed war correspondent during WWII, fashion model, surrealistic artist (working with and inspiring Man Ray) surrealistic gourmet chef, post traumatic stress disorder survivor, photographer, muse/artist model and mother.
Cover of the biography Lives of Lee Miller by her son Antony Penrose
Lee Miller in Adolf Hitler's bathtub, Munich, 1945.
David E. Scherman—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Lee Miller (April 23, 1907 – July 21, 1977), was known for her work in front of and behind the camera, as well as many other achievements.
She had a passion and a drive that got her to the front lines of WWII and was the subject in this iconic photo taken by David E. Sherman. 

Below are many links to articles, essays and a very informative video of Lee's son, Antony Penrose, speaking at NSU Art Museum's exhibit of Miller's work.
Vogue photographer Lee Miller sits in the bathtub of Adolf Hitler’s Munich residence — the very day that Hitler and Eva Braun took their lives in Berlin. 
26 Of The 20th Century’s Underrated Iconic Photos
By Erin Kelly on February 23, 2017

click here to read David E Scherman's description of this photo and his wartime experience with Lee Miller on  time.com:
The Woman in Hitler's Bathtub: Lee Miller, Munich, 1945Ben CosgroveNov 06, 2014

If you have a moment, watch this informative, entertaining and comprehensive view of Lee Miller's life narrated by her son, Antony Penrose.

Published on Oct 13, 2015   The Indestructible Lee MillerWritten and Narrated by Antony Penrose

Lee Miller, Fire Masks, 1941. During the London Blitz,

Don’t Let History Forget This Incredible Female World War II Photographer

article about Lee Miller on VanityFair.com

Picasso and Miller at the Rue des Grands Augustins in Paris, 1944.
© Lee Miller Archives, England.

one of Picasso's paintings of Miller 

I believe Lee Miller's life exemplifies many of the way that a woman's contribution is not adequately recorded and how women not only need to do the work but also need to demonstrate that she is more than an object or a possession.  Miller was a talented and brilliant photographer and she was fortunate that she was allowed and supported while she photographed WWII in a manner that only she could do.

from NPR:  Much More Than A Muse: Lee Miller And Man Ray Weekend Edition Saturday :

Phillip Prodger, curator of the exhibit: "There's a long history of women not being given their due in the history of 20th century art. ... Lee Miller has often been described as Man Ray's muse. And even though she was a muse, we wanted to make the point that there was something deeper and more important there. They were both powerful artists, and they fed off of each other.

The couple's devastating breakup in 1932 inspired some of their most famous works of art.
But Man Ray and Lee Miller reconciled in 1937 and stayed close for the rest of their lives.
They are pictured together in London in 1975.
Eileen Tweedy/The Roland Penrose Collection

Below are some excerpts from a New York Times article about Miller, and a link to the entire article.  The last excerpt is of woman artist, Martha Rosler, talking about the double work that 'women war photographers' had to deal with, 'two fronts', the war and the men.

This double duty, sadly, is still common today, for women in so many fields, careers and classrooms. Not only do women need to do the work at hand but they also need to protect themselves, guard themselves and fortify themselves against the advances, criticisms and threats from some of their male colleagues.  

‘The Indestructible Lee Miller’ Celebrates a Daring Surrealist and War Photographer
Hilarie M. Sheets      OCT. 27, 2015
A version of this article appears in print on November 1, 2015, on Page F12 of the New York edition with the headline: Subverting ‘Muse’ to Blaze Her Own Path.

In Lee Miller’s uncommon life, there are two celebrated periods. The first began in 1929, when, at 22, she apprenticed with the Surrealist photographer Man Ray and modeled for him in innovative portraits and radical nudes. The second was during World War II, when Miller was one of five accredited female photojournalists accompanying American troops into liberated concentration camps, documenting atrocities.

Vogue hired her in 1940 to report on women involved in the war effort in London, and she became an accredited American war correspondent in 1942 at the suggestion of her friend the Life photographer David E. Scherman.

Ms. Rosler said she was unaware of those pictures for Vogue in London when she created that series but was influenced by Miller’s earlier Surrealist work as well as by her personal story. “Women war photographers had to fight on two fronts: the bombs, and the men,” she said. 
new york times, oct 27, 2015

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