Lee Miller is one of the most fascinating and mysterious personalities of the twentieth century. A model of extraordinary beauty, a creative cook, a fearless war correspondent and a photographer of great skill. In the photographs that portray her, it is her deep and shining eyes that stand out; revealing a life she lived to the maximum degree of intensity, in constant search of herself.
“Lee Miller: Photographer & Surrealist” is an exhibition that traces the human and professional story of Lee Miller, focusing on the surrealist gaze of the photographer which, trained in the late 1920s in Paris, became a distinctive trait of her visual language.
Both her way of observing and the photographic lexicon she uses are Surrealist. It is characterized by the use of metaphors, antitheses and visual paradoxes aimed at revealing the unusual beauty of everyday life. Surrealist was her approach to life. It is difficult to describe a woman of this calibre: her complex intimacy, her tumultuous life, her vast work.
The exhibition develops through various thematic areas: starting from the work in the studio in Paris, where the photographer worked with technical and compositional experiments, we move on to the world of fashion and advertising, in New York, where Miller best expressed her skills as a portraitist and commercial photographer while never giving up her surrealist style.
The style also returns in the still life or landscapes that enrich the corpus of her work when she moved to Egypt; and again during the terrible years of the Second World War, when Lee immortalized the war in all its aspect: London – now home following her marriage to Roland Penrose – devastated by bombing, but where daily life still goes on; France, which resists alongside the allied troops, which Miller follows on the front line becoming correspondent at the front for Vogue; Germany, with the horror of the Buchenwald and Dachau concentration camps, photographed a few hours after their liberation.
Even in the last years of her career, although deeply scarred by the period at the front, she did not abandon her surrealist eye when, putting aside the camera, placed her creative energies in the kitchen.