Lee Miller's War

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    meg cumming

    Reading in Saturday’s “I” paper I note that there’s a Lee Miller exhibition on at the Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham. I know its a bit of a way out , but since its covering her work as a War photographer it might be of interest. Its on until Feb. 22nd


    Ian McNab

    Thanks for the ‘heads up’ about the Lee Miller exhibition, Meg.

    For those who are perhaps less familiar with her, she learned photography from her father, and modelled for him. She was a very beautiful young woman, and in her late teens started modelling for Vogue, was much in demand as a model, and worked with several very famous photographers in New York. She went to Paris in 1929 and persuaded Man Ray to teach her, quickly becoming his lover, muse and very able assistant (she was closely involved in the discovery and development of solarisation). Back in New York, she was a successful and sought-after photographer in the 1930s.

    When WWII broke out, she was living with painter Roland Penrose in London, and became Vogue New York’s  official war photographer. She went to France shortly after D-Day, photographed the Allied advance across Europe, including the liberation of Paris, and was with the first troops to enter the concentration camps at Buchenwald and Dachau. She continued to work as a photojournalist in Europe until she married Penrose in the mid 1940s. Their house in East Sussex was, during the 1950s and 60s a regular meeting place for internationally renowned artists, prominent among whom were Picasso, Henry Moore and Man Ray.

    After the war, she suffered badly from post-traumatic stress disorder for many years, and died of cancer, aged 70, in 1977. Her only son, Tony Penrose, now curates her archive, and is involved in promoting exhibitions of her excellent work.

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