Tuesday, 18 June 2019
News with tag Journalists  RSS
Lee Miller: The Inspiration Behind Jessica May

Added: 18.06.2019 19:38 | 2 views | 0 comments

As I mention in the Author’s Note at the back of The Paris Orphan, I first heard of Lee Miller when I was researching my previous book, . There was a throwaway line in an article that mentioned Miller and other female war correspondents who, after World War II had ended, had not been able to continue working as serious journalists because the men had returned from overseas and taken all of the available jobs.

It caught my attention. What would it have been like to report on a war and then come home to America and be assigned completely different work? After the war, Lee Miller was relegated to photographing fashion or celebrities during the winter season at Saint-Moritz. She was also an occasional contributor of recipes for Vogue.

That article was the start of my fascination with her. I went looking for more. And I found a story so incredible I couldn’t help but be inspired by it.

Miller the Photojournalist

Miller was a photojournalist for Vogue during World War II. She took some extraordinary photographs: she stumbled upon the battle for Saint-Malo in France and photographed the U.S. Army’s first use of napalm there. She reported from Paris, Luxembourg, Alsace, Colmar, Aachen, Cologne, Frankfurt and Torgau, among other places. She was one of the first to document the horrors of the Dachau concentration camp. And she was the subject of an iconic photograph, bathing in Hitler’s bathtub in his Munich apartment, having left her filthy boots to drop the dirt of Dachau, as she put it, all over the Fuhrer’s pristine white bathroom.

Miller the Model

But Lee Miller started on the other side of the lens. She was discovered by Condé Nast on the streets of Manhattan and became a famous model for magazines like Vogue during the 1920s. I decided to use this as the starting point for my character, Jessica May, as I was fascinated by that transition. How did a woman who was so obviously beautiful manage in the male and often chauvinistic environment of an army during a war?

Just as Condé Nast discovers Lee Miller, he also discovers Jess in The Paris Orphan and Jess is one of his favorite models, as Miller was. However, to suit my story better, I moved time forward to begin Jess’s modeling career in the early 1940s.

Miller’s modeling career ended when a photograph of her was used by Kotex in an advertisement for sanitary pads. It’s so hard to imagine that this could end a career, but it did. To be seen as the “Kotex Girl” was a stigma so dreadful that no magazine wanted to use pictures of Miller again. So Miller moved to France, where she became Man Ray’s lover. He helped her develop her photography skills and she became a well-regarded surrealist photographer.

I used these elements when creating Jess’s character too. Jess has to stop modeling after a photograph of her is used by Kotex, Jess has a French photographer as a lover, and solarization is a trademark of her work, as it was Miller’s.

The Intersection of Fiction and Reality

Miller actually reported for British Vogue during the war, although many of her pieces appeared in American Vogue too. For ease of the story, I have Jess working for American Vogue in The Paris Orphan.

Jess follows in Miller’s footsteps in The Paris Orphan, working out of a field hospital when she first arrives in France after D-Day. I have given the room used by Lee Miller at the Hotel Scribe in Paris to Jess, complete with a balcony piled high with fuel cans and an acquaintance with Picasso. Miller is called la femme soldatby the joyful Parisians after the city is liberated, as is Jess. Miller stays at Hitler’s apartment in Munich and is photographed in Hitler’s bath, as is Jess in The Paris Orphan.

After the War

One of the most heartbreaking parts of Miller’s story is what happened to her after the war. She suffered from post-traumatic stress after viewing and recording so many horrors, and she tried to forget that she was ever a witness to war and all its atrocities. So effective was she at excising this from her past that, when she died at age seventy, her son, Roland Penrose, had no idea of what she had done during the war. Her work was largely forgotten.

One day, Penrose’s wife found boxes of photographs and films in the attic at Farley Farm, Miller’s home. They contained Miller’s correspondence with her Vogue editor and wartime paraphernalia. Penrose immediately understood that he had made an incredible discovery, that his mother had been a true artist, and that her words and pictures had—once upon a time, until she let the world forget them—meant something.

He resurrected Lee Miller and her work. She is now widely regarded as one of the world’s preeminent war correspondents and photographers. The idea that she had been all but forgotten haunted me, and this inspired the scenes set in contemporary times in The Paris Orphan, when D’Arcy Hallworth finds an attic full of photographs and an extraordinary legacy that should never have been lost to the past.

Elaine Welteroth: The spirit of a journalist is the spirit of a truth-teller

Added: 18.06.2019 18:37 | 1 views | 0 comments

Elaine Welteroth sat down with CBSN's Vladimir Duthiers to discuss her new book "More Than Enough."

From: feeds.cbsnews.com

"39 Days": How Parkland shooting survivors turned grief into action

Added: 18.06.2019 17:19 | 1 views | 0 comments

In "39 Days" documentary, CBS News journalists — embedded with survivors of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting and a grieving father — take viewers inside the creation of a movement

From: feeds.cbsnews.com

[Ticker] New socialist group leader to push for Timmermans

Added: 18.06.2019 16:52 | 3 views | 0 comments

Spanish MEP and in the European Parliament, Iratxe Garcia, said Tuesday she will push for Dutch commissioner Frans Timmermans to head the next EU commission. "Timmermans is the best candidate for the European Commission and we will support him," she told journalists after the vote, adding that she sought to open negotiations with other pro-EU groups in the parliament.

Dan Gainor: Media obsessed with polls and Trump comments on campaign aid – Acosta obsessed with Acosta

Added: 15.06.2019 19:10 | 12 views | 0 comments

The election is nearly 17 months away, but the media are already working overtime to hype the early stages of the campaign. This week journalists obsessed over polls speculating on which Democrat might beat President Trump, even though no one knows now who the Democrats will nominate.

From: https:

CNN's Jim Acosta knocks 'purist' journalists, says his showboating behavior makes for a 'healthy, functioning democracy'

Added: 14.06.2019 21:44 | 12 views | 0 comments

CNN's liberal star reporter Jim Acosta took some shots at "purist" journalists who don't last out at the Trump administration and argued that his showboating behavior is a sign of a "healthy, functioning democracy."

From: https:

Singapore's ban on fake news sets a dangerous precedent

Added: 14.06.2019 17:19 | 23 views | 0 comments

As tempting as it sounds, Singapore's initiative to curb online misinformation could stop public-interest journalism and stifle academic discourse, says Donna Lu

From: https:

Kolarov close to Fenerbahce, claim Turkish media

Added: 14.06.2019 16:27 | 6 views | 0 comments

Aleksandar Kolarov has done well at AS Roma, but he could be nearing exit from Stadio Olimpico. At least that is what Turkish media are saying these days. According to their journalists, Serbia captain and veteran could be going to Fenerbahce. Reportedly, Kolarov already made a deal for a six million euro yearly salary. These ...]

From: https:

Lovers reunited 75 years on from WW2

Added: 14.06.2019 13:19 | 9 views | 0 comments

Journalists in France helped bring a US veteran back together with his wartime sweetheart.

From: https:

Jayme Closs: Hometown Hero

Added: 13.06.2019 20:15 | 4 views | 0 comments

CBS News journalists explore the courage of Wisconsin teenager Jayme Closs, held captive for 88 days before escaping, and how she and her community have bonded to help her heal

From: feeds.cbsnews.com

Older articles »

Copyright © 2008-2019 USweekly  - all rights reserved