Arts, Entertainment & Media

Last week to see Lee Miller exhibition in London^tfw

Lee Miller exhibition at the Imperial War Museum. Image: @IWM

Allow yourself to be swept up in the extraordinary life of fashion model turned World War II photojournalist, Lee Miller, at the Lee Miller: A Woman’s War exhibition before its residency at the Imperial War Museum ends on Sunday.

The exhibition offers glimpses of her work both in front of and behind the camera, starting with her early career as a fashion model for Vogue in the 1920s.

Lee Miller was much more than just a beauty though, and tired of being constantly directed by others.

She sought the freedom she craved in the Surrealist movement, and moved to Paris where she became Surrealist photographer Man Ray’s apprentice.

Miller’s son Antony Penrose, explains how Surrealism and Lee were a perfect match:

Moving in circles with Max Ernst and Pablo Picasso and working alongside Man Ray, Lee’s skills grew immensly and she emerged an accomplished photographer in her own right.

The Channel 4 documentary, The Lives of Lee Miller, (produced by Antony Penrose), charts Miller’s many different incarnations throughout her career:

The focus of the exhibition, however, is much more on the work she did for Vogue as a photojournalist, following the outbreak of war in 1939.

As an American citizen Miller was urged to leave Britain and return home, but as Antony Penrose explains, she refused to do so:

Lee Miller: A Woman’s War, celebrates Miller’s photographic focus on women and her work’s evocative portrayal of women’s evolving roles, and also their suffering, in wartime.

Many of the photographs on display have never been exhibited before.

They offer a fascinating insight into what life was like for women in Britain during World War II, and the invaluable work they did on the Homefront.

Lee’s photographs of women in post-war Europe powerfully illustrate how the legacy of the war affected many women in varying ways.

Flight Lieutenant Anna Laska © Lee Miller Archives (Image: Lee Miller)

Flight Lieutenant Anna Laska © Lee Miller Archives (Image: Lee Miller)

Miller became one of the first female photographers to document frontline combat, and also ended up in Hitler’s Munich apartment on the day of his death in 1945.

Having visited Dachau earlier that day, Miller famously posed for this photograph; washing off the filth of the concentration camp in Hitler’s pristine bath tub.

Lee Miller in Hitler's bath, Hitler's apartment, Munich. Lee Miller Archives

Lee Miller in Hitler’s Bath, © Lee Miller Archives (Image: David. E. Scherman)

Curator of the exhibition, Hilary Roberts, describes how this powerful picture can sometimes distract from Lee Miller’s other achievments:

The aim of the exhibition is therefore to introduce people to the extremely valuable body of work Miller produced during the war, specifically.

Hilary Roberts comments on the reaction the exhibition has received, and how it has been enjoyed by men and women alike:

The exhibition will finish its six month stint at IWM London on Sunday, April 24.





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