Photographers of war: Lee Miller

The Second World War (1939-1945) cemented a lot of individual places in history, however, in this article, I would like to discuss an individual that isn’t as well known as others from her time period but who instead was responsible for documenting the time period that was unfolding before her.

Who was Lee Miller?

Lee Miller started her career as a model, later becoming a photographer and then a photojournalist. She grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York, in the early 1900s. She was never good at following the rules, which lead to her being expelled from many schools. However, before she left formal education, she would travel to France on a school trip and attend L’École Medgyes pour la Technique du Théâtre, an experience that would get her into fashion.

By 1927 Miller was modelling for Vogue, but after an embarrassing incident in 1928-29, she left New York and moved to Paris where she would become the muse of one of the most famous surrealist photographers of the time, Man Ray. An experience that taught her a lot of what she knew about photography.

She married twice, which would first take her to Egypt and then to London by the start of the Second World War. Whilst in London she started taking photos of the city in the Blitz, later becoming a photojournalist for Vogue, with whom she would become an accredited war correspondent. By the end of the war, she had been to field hospitals in France, seen the Liberation of Buchenwald and Dachau, as well as being at the Battle of Saint-Malo.

You can read the rest of this article in our March issue...