Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Women At War: The Photography Of Lee Miller

Resistance To Evil

FFI Worker: Paris, France, 1944. 
Photo Credit: © Lee Miller Archives, England 2014
Source: Aesthetica 
This woman is part of the Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur, or FFI (French Forces of the Interior), as noted by the patch on her sleeve, which shows the Croix de Lorraine, chosen by General Charles de Gaulle as the symbol of the Résistance. The FFI as a resistance group became more prominent during the latter stages of the Second World War.

The war also acted as a catalyst for further women’s emancipation from the roles they previously held; with men off fighting, women worked in factories and conducted espionage and did what was deemed necessary to win the war against fascism. Lee Miller [1907-1977] and her photographs tell a certain story about the war; like many artists, Miller herself is a fascinating and complex figure, very much a product of the 1920s generation in search of something grand.

Complexity is more often than not a result of unresolved internal conflict, which affect those nearest and dearest with a host of human emotions. It is not easy being an artist or the children of one. Anthony Penrose, has written a book about his mother, revealing sides of her personality that he was unaware of while growing up.

The Second World War was a turning point in human history, and its affects still reverberate today. Aesthetica writes: “2015 marks 70 years since the end of the Second World War. When war broke out in 1939, women embarked on a continuous process of change and adaptation. For some, including Miller herself, the war brought a form of emancipation and personal fulfillment, but its many privations caused widespread suffering. Miller’s photography of women in Britain and Europe during this period reflects her unique insight as a woman and as a photographer capable of merging the worlds of art, fashion and photojournalism in a single image.”

The exhibit, at the Imperial War Museums (IWM) in London, England, is scheduled to run from October 15, 2015 to April 24, 2016.

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