Lee Miller

By: Alix Lambert
April 23, 2012

LEE MILLER’s (1907-77) life was fully lived. Strikingly beautiful, she started her career as a model. Her sharp eye, creativity and intellect soon propelled her to become an innovative artist, photographer and eventually, war correspondent for Vogue. As an artist, Miller was a key member of the surrealist movement. She was lover, muse, and contemporary to Man Ray; together they popularized solarization, a photographic technique in which darks and lights are reversed by exposing the negative during the developing process. When Miller took the job for Vogue, she was the only female combat photographer working. She is responsible for some of the most iconic images of the London Blitz and the liberation of Paris. But it was her time spent photographing the concentration camps at Buchenwald and Dachau that would come to haunt her the remainder of her life. (“She got into the death camps,” recalled journalist Drusilla Beyfus. “If even a tough guy, like I thought I was, had gone to such a place it might well have ruined my life.”) During the war she often worked in collaboration with American photographer David Scherman, who is noted for his famous picture of Miller in Hitler’s bathtub. After the war, Miller married British painter and curator Roland Penrose with whom she had a son, Antony Penrose. Penrose wrote his mother’s biography, The Lives of Lee Miller.


On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Lee Majors and Roy Orbison.

READ MORE about members of the Partisans (1904-13) Generation.