Lee Miller

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Elizabeth 'Lee' Miller, Lady Penrose (April 23, 1907 – July 21, 1977) was an American photographer. Born in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1907, she was a successful fashion model in New York City in the 1920s before going to Paris where she became an established fashion and fine art photographer. During the Second World War, she became an acclaimed war correspondent for Vogue magazine covering events such as the London Blitz, the liberation of Paris, and the concentration camps at Buchenwald and Dachau.

Contents

Early life

Elizabeth Miller was born on April 23, 1907 in Poughkeepsie, New York. Her parents were Theodore and Florence Miller (née MacDonald). Her father was of German descent, and her mother a Canadian of Scottish and Irish descent. She had a younger brother named Erik, and older brother named John. Theodore always favored Elizabeth, and he often used her as a model for his amateur photography. When Elizabeth was seven years old, she was raped while staying with a family friend in Brooklyn. Soon after, it was realized that Elizabeth had contracted gonorrhea.[1]

Career

Modelling

Her father, Theodore Miller, an engineer, inventor and businessman, introduced Lee and her brothers, John and Erik, to photography from an early age. She was his model — with many stereoscopic photographs taken of a teenage Lee in the nude — and he also showed her technical aspects of the art.[2] At age 19, she was stopped from walking in front of a car on a Manhattan street by the founder of Vogue magazine, Condé Nast, thus launching her modeling career when she appeared on the cover of the March 1927 edition in an illustration by George Lepape. For the next two years, she was one of the most sought after models in New York, photographed by the likes of Edward Steichen, Arnold Genthe, and Nickolas Murray. A photograph of Lee by Steichen was used to advertise a female hygienic product (Kotex) causing a scandal.[3]

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