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

Added: 17.11.2019 19:39 | 3 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.

Dan Gainor: Media parrots impeachment (Dem) party line but America not buying

Added: 17.11.2019 15:56 | 4 views | 0 comments

The Schiff-led hearings gave journalists exactly what they wanted, a formal attack on the Trump presidency.  

From: https:

Tom Brokaw: Yesterday, "Today" and tomorrow

Added: 17.11.2019 15:04 | 2 views | 0 comments

The veteran journalist and chronicler of "The Greatest Generation" talks with former "Today" show colleague Jane Pauley about a brilliant career, and his battle with cancer that is now in remission

From: feeds.cbsnews.com

Mayor sprints away from journalists mid-interview, in Chile

Added: 15.11.2019 20:26 | 0 views | 0 comments

Evelyn Matthei, mayor of Providencia commune in Santiago de Chile, suddenly sprinted away from journalists in the street.

From: rss.cnn.com

How has free porn impacted performers and consumers?

Added: 14.11.2019 22:20 | 0 views | 0 comments

Jon Ronson, a journalist and host of the Audible Original "The Butterfly Effect," which dives into the changing world of online porn, offers his insight into how the emergence of free porn has affected performers and consumers.

From: feeds.cbsnews.com

'I'm too afraid to move!' Journalist rescues panicked hiker at Zion National Park

Added: 13.11.2019 16:46 | 13 views | 0 comments

Wordlessly, my brother and I began to climb up the face of a mountain in Zion National Park we had just agreed hours before we'd better not attempt.

From: rssfeeds.usatoday.com

U.S. presses Egypt on alleged torture, mass arrests at U.N. review

Added: 13.11.2019 11:47 | 7 views | 0 comments

The United States and other Western countries urged Egypt on Wednesday to investigate alleged killings and torture by its security forces and to release journalists and others arrested for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

From: feeds.reuters.com

Turkish police arrest journalist Altan a week after his release

Added: 13.11.2019 6:39 | 17 views | 0 comments

Turkish police detained prominent journalist and author Ahmet Altan late on Tuesday, a week after he was released from prison in his retrial on coup-related charges, Istanbul police said.

From: feeds.reuters.com

Northwestern journalism dean reacts to 'heartfelt, though not well-considered' newspaper apology for reporting

Added: 13.11.2019 2:59 | 12 views | 0 comments

The dean of the Northwestern Medill School of Journalism is speaking out in defense of its student-run newspaper that was slammed for essentially apologizing for practicing journalism, urging critics to "give the young people a break."

From: https:

www.theguardian.com: The Guardian view on the floods: global heating and British soaking | Editorial

Added: 12.11.2019 18:26 | 19 views | 0 comments

The drama and loss of recent days should focus minds on the urgent necessity of climate adaptation
The death of , the former high sheriff of Derbyshire who was swept away by floodwater last Friday in Darley Dale near Matlock, was the saddest and most shocking consequence so far of the destruction wreaked across northern parts of England over the past week. While cameras in recent days have been trained on and around Doncaster, where from the village of Fishlake and suburb of Bentley showed people being towed along red-brick residential streets in inflatable boats – and where the Liberal Democrat leader, Jo Swinson, paid a visit – the affected area stretches south along the course of the river Don through Rotherham and Sheffield, and on to Lincolnshire and Derbyshire, where the river Derwent burst its banks last week.
Road closures, buildings underwater so that residents who have chosen to stay are stuck upstairs, thousands more homes evacuated while gardens are turned into lakes, transport chaos (Rotherham’s railway station, for example, currently resembles a canal), volunteers ferrying neighbours and journalists around, police standing guard to ward off looters – the chaos creates a kind of spectacle while it lasts, and opportunities for generosity as well as danger. But one resident, Sue Marshall, surely spoke for many when she said that . “What we need to know is that in two months’ time, the MPs will look at what has been done to stop it happening again.”

From: https:

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