Lee Miller self-effacing ?
Despite her independence and high spirits, Miller is better known today through Man Rays
photographs than in her own work about which she remained self-effacing and eventually gave up.
Although adopted by the Surrealists , like many other women artists who ‘ joined ‘ in great numbers
throughout the thirties, she was not interested in theory or politics and wasn’t commited to the collective
goals of the movement. Her connection with the group was entirely personal rather than formal.
She did not in any way prescribe to Breton’s etherealised vision of the Surrealist woman.
In fact both Breton and Man Ray became furious when she agreed to take part in Cocteau’s film
” le Sang d’un poet”.She was seen to be ‘ collaborating with the enemi”. Most Surrealists despised Cocteau
for his flamboyant homosexuality, use of drugs and especially his frequent steelling from the Surrealist
themes and images. Bitter arguments broke out in the group which left her unmoved.
Miller’s insistence on her own freedom was not well received by Man Ray.
The success of her own career as a fashion photographer for Vogue eventually led to the breakup with
Lee Miller’s ultimate artistic challenge came with WW2 . In 1943 she became an accredited war
correspondent to the US Army and determined to become a full time photo jounalist.
Living in London she photographed the streets during the Blitz. Then she set of for the continent
and remained with the US troups, under constant fire, shells, machine guns and bombs.
She arrived in Paris on Liberation Day finding , to her delight , that her friend Picasso and many others
who’d been hiding from the Gestapo were all still alive