Lee Miller

"She never allowed herself to be crushed or silenced by them."

Namesake: Lee Jacket

Lee Miller was the kind of person for whom hard things couldn’t get in the way of making something of herself. She was beautiful, definitely. She had kind of a dark childhood growing up in Poughkeepsie, but left home when she became a model in the 1920s. She was also innately curious and actively pursued her curiosities through her photo work and journalism. In the early 1930s she lived in Paris and made portraits of the artists she was friends with — like Picasso and Joan Míro — and met while living with Man Ray as his student and lover.

In spite of her ability to be comfortable in front of the camera and being sexualized by almost all of the men in her life, she still never allowed herself to be crushed or silenced by them. She stayed herself. It wasn’t until the 1940s that she made a name for herself in the public eye as something other than a model when she became a war correspondent for Vogue, documenting concentration camps and the liberation of Paris. That work was political and dynamic; her portraiture and personal work was intimate, candid, even feminine.

  • Jane Jean in Chelsea