Midcareer, she made the unprecedented transition from one side of the lens to the other, from a Conde Nast model in Jazz Age New York to fashion photographer, creating stunning images that imbued fashion with her signature wit and whimsy. Miller became a celebrated Surrealist under the tutelage of her lover, Man Ray, and then joined the war effort during World War II, documenting everything from the liberation of concentration camps to the daily life of Nazi-occupied Paris. Miller was recognized as "one of the most distinguished living photographers" during her hey-day as a fashion photographer, but an astonishing number of these images have remained unpublished. "Lee Miller in Fashion "is the first book to examine how her career as a model and fashion photographer illuminates her life story and connects to international fashion history from the late 1920s until the early 1950s.
The world of fashion emerges as the backbone of Miller's creative development, as well as an integral lens through which to understand the effects of war on the lives of women in the 1940s and 1950s. Miller witnessed incredible acts of resistance born out through fashion--and her photographic record of women's indomitable spirit even in times of war has remained an invaluable resource in fashion and global history. "Lee Miller in Fashion" presents these striking archival fashion photographs as well as contact sheets, memos, and Miller's published illustrations, vividly setting the wit, irrepressible creativity, and daring of Miller within the larger story of women's experience of fashion, art, and war in the twentieth century.
""In all her different worlds, she moved with freedom. In all her roles, she was her own bold self.""
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-09-23
- Reviewer: Staff
Though many readers may know Miller’s name because of her connection to 20th-century artists—Picasso, Man Ray (also her lover), and Paul Éluard—her own photography created a new standard for fashion photography and journalism, according to Yale University historian Conekin (The Autobiography of a Nation: The 1951 Festival of Britain). Conekin’s book is the first to study Miller’s modeling and photographic work in relation to her biography, and comes during a resurgence in interest in Miller, especially in her work for Vogue. Miller began working as a model in New York in the 1920s, but soon took up photography and moved abroad. Conekin does an excellent job of capturing Miller’s efforts as a WWII correspondent for British Vogue, seen, for example, in an image of U.S. servicewomen in uniform joyfully fingering the fabric of a dress at a fashion show in Paris. Miller added writing to her output during this period, her voice redefining the kind of journalism that would be acceptable in a fashion magazine. Miller seemed to disappear from view after the 1950s, and Conekin acknowledges that the explanation remains elusive: “We can never know for sure whether it was Miller’s postwar domestic life or her wartime experiences…that made her turn her back on photography and her always fraught writing career.” This book is essential to understanding Miller, as well as reclaiming her artistic legacy. 150 illus. Agent: Sarah Chalfant, the Wylie Agency. (Oct.)