Lee Miller was born on 23 April 1907 in New York and died in East Sussex on 21 July 1977. She was a Model, muse, photographer, artist, war correspondent. She became known as a portraitist and fashion photographer, but her most famous work are Surrealist images. She resumed life in New York again in 1932, and set up her own studio which ran for 2 years, which was vastly successful. She was a freelance photographer for Vogue. She was the only woman combat photo-journalist to cover the front line war in Europe.
She used a Rolleiflex camera, it’s called a twin lens reflex camera because it has two identical lenses one for the photographer’s view and the other for the film to see the view. It only had 12 shots on a roll of film and because of the time to load film Lee carried 2 cameras so she could always have one ready. The Rolleiflex did not have a built – in light meter, flash or auto focus and it did not have telephoto lens to bring the image closer. She discovered solarisation and used the process in her work.
She was inspired by other surrealist artist and photographers such as Man Ray to enhance her own work, but also much of Man Ray’s work is in fact Millers’ but attributed to Man Ray.
This image is outstandingly beautiful. The main feature is the tree, but then you notice the soldiers behind it and the tone of the tree is balanced with all the other main and varied focal points of the image. It’s like a story telling process of the beautiful foreground the ugly war going on in the background. The space within the place of the gun point range is a frightening one. The image is also very sublime, but initially picturesque. We almost look at the soldier like an iconic figure because he wouldn’t have been given a choice not to take part in the war and that our safety is due to his and others bravery. The image is also indexical because it’s showing two very different things in one image like a juxtaposition, which it’s also very communitive to the viewer. The solider are almost lost in their collective non-identity. The viewer has a sense of stalking them. I think Lee is incredibly inspirational. Lee’s personal experiences include being raped at a very early age and lived with a venereal disease all her life subsequently shooting the war time pictures she suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome.