Lee Miller (1907-1977) is one of the most versatile US-photographers and photo-journalists of the 20th century. She united opposed genres such as surrealism, fashion, portrait and travel photography, as well as war reporting into her repertoire of works. The exhibition leads through the photographer’s diverse stations of life in New York, from Paris and Egypt up to Germany. Approximately 100 photographs that are exhibited illustrate Lee Miller’s life from different perspectives: as assistant, muse and partner of Man Ray in Paris in the 1930s; and as a pioneer of art photography and a photo-journalist during the Second World War. Her photographs of Germany’s national-socialist aerial bombardments of London, the liberation of Paris and the concentration camps in Dachau and Buchenwald are ranked amongst the most haunting war documents of the 20th century.
Lee Miller began her artistic career in Paris in 1929, when she began taking surrealist photographs with Man Ray. She was more than merely his muse and assistant, since the photographs were often created in close collaboration. In the nude photographs, which Man Ray took of her, Miller – a photo model for Vogue – deliberately put herself into the limelight.
In her own photographs – nudes, portraits and street scenes – she focused on surrealism’s stylistic devices and developed her own artistic language: Miller distorted the motifs of image by choosing close-cropped image details, fragmenting the human body and working with solarisation techniques, hence reversing the black and white values using strong overexposure.