Lee Miller : Portraits from a Life, Paperback

Lee Miller : Portraits from a Life Paperback

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Lee Miller is possibly the 20th century's most famous woman photographer.

During her extraordinary life, she came into contact with a wide range of people including many of the most celebrated and influential artists, writers, actors, fashion designers and socialites of the last century.

The photographs include not only Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Dora Maar, Igor Stravinsky, Henry Moore, Colette, Marlene Dietrich, Fred Astaire and a host of others, but also pictures of unsung individuals engaged in war work.

Most memorable of all are Miller's pictures of victims and perpetrators of Nazi oppression - some of the most powerful images from the last century.

These brilliant portraits are shown together for the first time.

Throughout the book, Richard Calvocoressi demonstrates the originality and artistry of Miller's work, while exploring the relationship between the photographs and her fascinating life.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176 pages, Illustrations
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Individual photographers
  • ISBN: 9780500285220



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Miller has an fascinating view and an "unflinching eye". This stance she keeps during her whole photographic career, which encompass three decades. As she says 'there were lots of things, touching, poignant or queer I wanted to photograph'. Lee Miller is first of all an artist photographer and second a documentary photographer. Despite this, I am most impressed by the pictures she made during the second worldwar. First the effect of the Blitz on London and its citizens. In 1942 she applied and was accepted by the US army as war correspondent. She documented in Britain the war work of women. And in 1944 she flew to Normandy to cover the Allied advance through France and Germany. She focussed first of all on the human stories. In 1945 she photographed the Nazi war crimes and she kept on taking pictures of war devastations till the beginning of 1946. She had few illusions of the liberation: 'the pattern of liberation is not decorative', she wrote,' ... There is the beautiful overall colour of freedom but there is ruin and destruction.' In 1949 she and Roland Penrose started a artist home in Farley Farm in East Sussex. Miller began to work as a portraitist. At the start of her career, she was trained as an artist in the surrealist way of thinking. Cinema was very important for her sensibility. She saw in cinema a flash of poetry and this she caught in her work. In the introduction Richard Calvocoressi comments the fact that Miller's critics detect a loss of intensy in her photographs of the 1950s and 1960s. He disagrees on that. Some postwar portraits belong to her highest achievements. But it is true that she was burnt out by the war and was finished with her assignments with Vogue. He mentions her last photo serie 'Working Guests' in Vogue of 1953. Her she pictures her artist friends at work at Farly Farm, while she is seen sleeping on the drawing-room sofa. She liberated herself again to do what she liked.

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