In Episode 05 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews Ami Bouhassane on the life and work of her grandmother: the model turned surrealist, photographer, war correspondent and all-round 20th century artistic giant, LEE MILLER!!
And WOW will this episode blow you away. Especially when you hear that Ami’s father, Antony Penrose, was unaware of his mother’s professional photographic life until after she passed away in 1977...
Born in 1907, Lee Miller first entered the world of photography in New York after falling into the arms of Conde Nast on a Manhattan street. It didn't take long before she was already on her way to Paris, in particular the studio of Man Ray, with whom she created some of the most iconic surrealist photography.
Fast forward to 1932 and she's back in NYC at the height of the depression where she excelled running her own commercial photographic studio. Off again, back to Paris via Egypt, and then the UK at the outbreak of World War II, where Lee quickly adopted the role of a war correspondent, photographing on the front line, but also ensuring that she was recording women’s contribution to the war. However life took a turn after witnessing some of the most horrific scenes that war was to bring.
I couldn’t be more delighted to interview Ami on her grandmother who is one of the MOST remarkable artists to live, whose story needs to be told, AND whose work needs to be seen.
We recorded the episode down at Farley's Farm, on the site of Miller’s former home, where where Ami and her father Antony continue to run the archive, gallery (that you can visit!), and ensure the legacy of the great Lee Miller. See more info here: https://www.farleyshouseandgallery.co.uk/
WORKS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE
Lee Miller's front cover for Vogue
Egypt: Portrait of Space, 1937
World War II images:
Fire Masks, Hampstead:
Lee Miller's cookbook:
Thank you for listening!! This episode is sponsored by the Affordable Art Fair: @affordableartfairuk
Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel
Artwork by @thisisaliceskinner
Sound editing by @_ellieclifford / @naomiabel
Music by Ben Wetherfield