Photographer Lee Miller’s Subversive Career Took Her From Vogue To War-Torn Germany

Lee Miller, Self-Portrait, 1930.COURTESY SALVADOR DALI MUSEUM

When war photographer, fashion model and Surrealist muse Lee Miller died at the age of 70 in 1977, her name was known to a select few experts in the art world. Her career was not without its milestones: working with American photojournalist David E. Scherman, she took some of the most famous images of World War II–era atrocities, and she posed for Man Ray and Vogue. Still, her reputation lagged behind her art-historical significance.

That all changed when Miller’s son, Anthony Penrose, uncovered a vast archive of his late mother’s work in an attic. In 2013, a foundation in Miller’s name was formed in England, and more than 80,000 negatives were given a proper site where experts and institutions could access them. Since then, interest in Miller’s art has grown vastly, and this July, the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida will stage a show focused on her contributions to the Surrealist art movement.

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