Wednesday, December 03, 2008

From Muse to Museums

Lee Miller could have entered the history books as "gorgeous model/muse/lover of surrealist photographer Man Ray," but her talents and bravado refused to remain in that little box. Miller went from sitting in front of a camera to manning one.

Her fashion images alone were beautiful but her World War II photography was groundbreaking. As one of the first women to document combat, she brought an outsider's eye and heart to the scene. What she showed the world through her lens was the impact of war on the lives of servicewomen, civilians, on the streets, on the churches and on public buildings.

While her photos came with a slight soft side, Lee herself was tough as nails. She roughed it like all the rest of the guys, looting bombed out liquor stores to mix her fellow photogs drinks, and dining on shell-shot beef stew while she ducked gunfire. She was at home on the battlefield and on the pages of Vogue. A retrospective of Miller's work is on view at the Jeu de Paume in Paris in honor of the centenary of her birth. Stateside you can see Miller's work in collections at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, SFMOMA, and the Getty among others.

All images from the Lee Miller Archives, click any image for more information.

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