if i have related this before, my apologies.
it had to have been the late 1970's, early 1980's.
i was in london. it was a sunday before christmas. i was in leicester square returning from a meeting with a ghanaian woman who was offering antique african textiles. though beautiful, i declined. no provenance could be provided and i felt that they were "hot" stuff.
walking down to the tube station, i caught a photo in the window of a little gallery. which caught my attention. it was a photo of a woman in a european bathtub. i peered at the picture, there was a legend beside it.... it read..." lee miller in hitler's bathtub."
i wanted it. but i was leaving for the usa on monday. and according to the door, the gallery would not reopen until after new year's.
so, i wrote a note on my business card and slid it under the door.
in the new year, the gallery owner telephoned to tell me that the photo had been sold previously to my noticing it.
so, i put lee miller away in my memory banks. i must confess, i did not know who the hell she was at that time. i was not an aficionado of photography.
in 1998, i moved mom to LA to a little board and care in the mar vista district, just south of santa monica.
long story short, when i was taking mom to LA before she was assaulted and suffered immediate and drastic cognitive decline, my friend[little melon ball] accompanied us. gallery hopping was an LA pastime. and i discovered one being managed by a woman with a great eye.
sometime in 1995, all the colorado blvd galleries in santa monica closed.
but in 1998, the city of santa monica had renovated the old interurban railway station[bergamot] and made it a locus for art galleries. and i rediscovered gail harvey with her own space. still had a great eye.
perhaps it was easter 1999/2000, after visiting gail's gallery, driving out of bergamot station, i noticed a gallery holding a man ray retrospective. i knew of man ray's "constructions". so i stopped, parked, and entered a perspective-changing exhibition.
i learned in my perusal of that exhibition that man ray was also a photographer. and that the subject of many of his photographs was his lover[and student] lee miller. it was a great show. the next day i took my nieces to catch it, but it was closed. a sign on the door of the gallery said that a death in the family had forced the premature closing of the exhibit. sigh. i had really wanted to share man ray with georgia and lucy.
once again, lee miller went into my memory banks.
i think it was november 2002. i had gone to europe to visit voit/steph. then i went to amsterdam to visit a new distributor. and then to london for a conference on the forthcoming war for hydrocarbons.
one of my stations on the cross in london has been terrence conran's design museum. not easy to get to. it is on the thames downstream, southside, of tower bridge in what was a distressed area.
it was one of those typical london winter weekends. icy fog. i was staying in mayfair. but the design museum was holding an exhibit on aluminum[at the time of its discovery, considered the magic metal by artists, engineers, designers]. so i went to catch that exhibit. it was a killer.
and my ticket entitled me to see every exhibition in the museum. the other exhibition was entitled THE UNSEEN VOGUE or VOGUE UNSEEN. i didn't have an interest in fashion, but i was there and the icy fog had changed to driving sleet. i thought that i should take in the vogue show and wait out the weather.
well, it was the most shattering show that i had ever attended. i had no idea how conde nast[publisher/owner of vogue] had transformed modern photography. from lighting techniques, cameras, films. vogue was as instrumental in the development of modern photography as the boys on the backlots of LA. i had never considered fashion photography as such a motivator of innovation/invention.
the most shocking epiphany in that exhibiton was to turn a corner and encounter a vitrine with a ww2 war correspondent uniform on a mannequin. with the name badge, LEE MILLER.
so, vogue had a woman accredited as a war correspondent during ww2.
returning to the USA, i tuned into the LEE MILLER estate.
and acquired its publication, LEE MILLER'S WAR.
in the annals of WW2 war photography, war reportage, LEE MILLER, though all too frequently unremembered, may have been the real star.
she was the first to gain permission to photograph wounded soldiers and field hospitals. this essay with photos was published by vogue.
she landed with the troops at st malo. and was in germany for the liberation of dachau.
one of the most startling aspects of some of her photographs is how much her vision reveals the eye of her lover and teacher, man ray.
it is only my opinion, mind you, but i have concluded that lee miller was the best war correspondent/war photographer of the european theater of ww2.
LEE MILLER'S WAR[isbn#0091770300]