Sunday, 6 February 2011

Muse of the Month - Lee Miller

I first discovered Lee Miller at the opening of an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. It wasn't an exhibition focused on Lee Miller, it was one of their permanent exhibits, with various photographs, stories, information from a certain era of the early 20th Century. There was just a group of  two photographs of Lee Miller and taken by Lee Miller, that inspired me to discover more about Miller. It was during my time at Chelsea College of Art studying Contemporary Art & Artist along with Sketching. Sadly I missed the huge retrospective exhibition on at the V&A a couple of years ago called The Art of Lee Miller. But you can still buy postcards of her photography, books and pictures as I did.I think I was also inspired by her 20's hairstyle for one of my new hair looks!

Lee Miller Self Portrait w Headband.jpg
Self Portrait in Headband, New York, 1932 © Lee Miller Archives, England 2008. All rights reserved

The life Lee Miller led was a fascinating, creative life of a free-spirited woman
ahead of her time, with intelligence and beauty. She was a multi-tasker or "slasher" before women
were even fully accepted in the work place. Her transformation from Vogue fashion model to
artist's muse, to ground-breaking artist - which in turn led to her unprecedented career as a photographer.

Lee Miller
by Edward Steichen
Miller, born in Poughkeepsie, New York (where her early life was
as interesting and where we see she got  some of her fire from) -
she was classically beautiful and was discovered, 1927, by Conde Nast himself.
She began her modelling career on the front cover of American Vogue.
She is immortalized by Steichen, Hoyningen-Huene, Horst and
other famous photographers.

Lee Miller Jan 08
Solarized photograph. Paris 1930 (Lee Miller) via Sleekit
Paris, 1929, Miller becomes the protege and lover of Man Ray, she invents
with him the solarization technique of photography, develops into a brilliant surrealist photographer,
and plays the statue in Cocteau's film Blood of a Poet.

Air-raid shelter. 1940 for Conde Nast Publications. (Lee Miller) via wmhart

Europe, 1939-45, Miller was living at occasionally with her future husband, the
painter Roland Penrose, she becomes a US war correspondent and covers the
siege of St. Malo and the liberation of Paris. Her photographs of Dachau
concentration camp shocked the world. Her finest work included portraits
of Picasso, Braque, Ernst, Eluard, Miro....

These are just a few of the many lives on a journey of this extraordinary artist,
free spirit and a constant inspiration to myself and my own work.

Do You Know The Many Faces of Lee Miller?