The Legendary Lee Miller: Photographs 1929-1964

Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver
January 8, 1999 - February 20, 1999


Lee Miller, Roland Penrose with Mumps, London(1941),
photograph (courtesy Lee Miller Archives)

Lee Miller, an American photographer, was an astounding woman and artist for her times. As a freethinker and world traveller, she began her life-long interest in people living in the remote areas of the Balkans in 1938. She was a U.S. war correspondent in the Second World War and a Vogue photojournalist for the balance of her career. With aplomb, she recorded both the 1946 execution of Bardossy in Budapest and the birth of her son in 1947. In the aftermath of World War II in Europe, she took on huge themes: the disbandment of families, the destruction of monumental edifices, and the death of children. She documented the unimaginable horrors of the Dachau liberation in 1944 as well as the plight of the camp guards. Perhaps less memorable but historically invaluable, Miller created portraits of the most influential artists of the 20th Century. Her subjects included Man Ray, Picasso, Charlie Chaplin, Colette, Gertrude Lawrence, Henry Moore, Marlene Dietrich, Max Ernst and Joan Miro. Millerís style was cinematic and graphic with a macro view. Through her lenses, architecture disintegrated into skeletal geometry and nude skin became a topography. Because her vivid sketches emphasized the curves of the world rather than the planes, her work has retained an unmatched stylistic approach.

© Mia Johnson