The Lee Miller Archives are delighted to announce that in April of 2013 they will be revealing the photographs of Elizabeth "Lee" Miller, internationally renowned war photographer, Vogue cover model and surrealist artist.
This is the first time ever that over three thousand of Lee Miller’s photographs have been seen together and will be immediately viewable in the online image library. Converted from the original negatives or vintage prints into digital format over half of the uploaded images will be available to view for the first time ever.
Previously there have only been approximately just under 800 Lee Miller photographs in circulation in addition to her lifetime published work. These consisted of 150 images officially shown on the Lee Miller website, alongside other images published in books & exhibition catalogues about Miller or contributed to biographies and other publications that relate to the themes she photographed throughout her life.
The entire Lee Miller Archives still belong to her family and are carefully kept at her former home (now a living museum), Farley Farm House. The collection, discovered in the attic of the farm house by Lee and Roland’s son Antony Penrose and his wife, after Lee’s death consists of over 60,000 original negatives, 20,000 vintage prints & contact sheets and thousands of original documents and manuscripts. Since their discovery, it has been the aim of the Penrose family to make the archive accessible to others but it is only recently that technology has made this possible and cost effective. After a lengthy period of time to convert the archive to this digital format the first 3000 images are now viewable.
Antony Penrose, Millers son says of the launch "I hardly knew my mother during her lifetime - our home, Farley Farm House had been filled with magical, kind and wonderful people who I later discovered were the leading artists of their day, but in this warm atmosphere my mother often seemed absent even when present. She was often away travelling and when she was home she was frequently stricken with the incomprehensible suffering of PTSD and its consequent alcoholism and depression. She had been relentlessly self-deprecating about her life so I knew nothing of her multifaceted career as a super model, surrealist photographer and combat photojournalist.
Following her death 35 years ago, the work to catalogue the collection and bring Lee Miller’s photography back from obscurity has been painstaking. As we are a private arts organisation with no government funding, the collating of her images has taken many years. This is the exciting moment when we are able to realise our long term objective as a family and are able to share thousands of her images, many never seen before, through our new Lee Miller image library website.
In time we intend to make all 60,000 images available along with those of her husband Roland Penrose who often gives an interesting insight into her, her iconic images and their circle of friends as well as a relevant selection of work by other photographers in their circle such as Miller’s father Theodore Miller. This will hopefully be a valuable resource for publishers, researchers, picture editors and students worldwide."
All aspects of Lee Millers work are represented in the archive: surrealist artist, World War II photo-journalist and 20th Century fashion and celebrity photographer. Among the 20th century personalities & artists she met and worked with, such as Clarke Gable, Fred Astaire, Dylan Thomas, Miró and Tapiés to name just a few.
The archive will open on 23 April 2013, to mark the 106th birthday of Lee Miller. For more information, visit the Lee Miller website