Lee Miller’s work for Vogue from 1941 to 1945 sets her apart as a photographer and writer of extraordinary ability. Her words combine immediacy with acute observation, and deep personal involvement with professional detachment. Complementing her writing here are two hundred remarkable photographs from the Lee Miller Archives. They show war-ravaged cities, buildings, and landscapes; but above all they portray war-resilient people, soldiers, leaders, medics, evacuees, prisoners of war, the wounded, the villains, and the heroes.
There is the raw edge of combat portrayed at the siege of St. Malo and in the bitterly fought Alsace campaign, and the disbelief and outrage Miller describes on witnessing the victims of Dachau. The war’s horror is relieved by the spirit of post-liberation Paris, where she indulged in frivolous fashions and recorded memorable conversations with Picasso, Cocteau, Eluard, Aragon, and Colette. The book ends with Miller’s on-the-scene report giving a sardonic description of Hitler’s abandoned house in Munich and the looting and burning of his alpine fortress at Berchtesgaden, which marked a symbolic end to the war.
Antony Penrose is the son of Lee Miller and Roland Penrose and is director of the Lee Miller Archives and The Penrose Collection. His other books include The Lives of Lee Miller, Lee Miller’s War, and the acclaimed children’s book, The Boy Who Bit Picasso. He lives in Sussex.
David E. Scherman
David E. Scherman was an American photojournalist and editor.