Sunday, 21 July 2019
News with tag Journalists  RSS
Lee Miller: The Inspiration Behind Jessica May

Added: 20.07.2019 20:42 | 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.

Pogba, Neymar, Maguire & what’s going on at Arsenal? Transfer news with David Ornstein

Added: 19.07.2019 17:57 | 6 views | 0 comments

BBC Sport journalist David Ornstein brings us the latest transfer gossip, including the latest on Paul Pogba's future at Manchester United and Neymar's potential return to Barcelona.

From: www.bbc.co.uk

Atomwaffen is a "group that we should absolutely be concerned about"

Added: 18.07.2019 19:19 | 0 views | 0 comments

Joanna Mendelson of the Anti-Defamation League and Jake Hanrahan, a British journalist and "48 Hours "consultant, expose the secretive neo-Nazi hate group Atomwaffen Division.

From: feeds.cbsnews.com

Turkey journalists and activist acquitted of terrorism charges

Added: 17.07.2019 11:20 | 0 views | 0 comments

The defendants, who worked for a Kurdish paper, had been charged with making terrorist propaganda.

From: https:

Before Being Hacked, Border Surveillance Firm Lobbied to Downplay Security and Privacy Concerns About Its Technology

Added: 16.07.2019 3:17 | 18 views | 0 comments

Few people had ever heard of Perceptics, a Tennessee-based subcontractor that sells license plate readers to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, before last month, when news emerged that the company had been hacked and that sensitive data — including images of license plates and drivers — had been released on the dark web. The hack is just the sort of privacy breach that civil liberties advocates have long warned could come from massive government data collection, especially when it is contracted out to private firms. And it comes at a time when the CBP is under scrutiny for monitoring activists and journalists at the U.S.-Mexico border and airports. Yet while photos of faces and license...

Norah O'Donnell on the legacy of "CBS Evening News"

Added: 16.07.2019 0:57 | 2 views | 0 comments

At the end of her first show as anchor of "CBS Evening News," Norah O'Donnell reflected on the legacy of journalists at CBS News. One was Edward R. Murrow.

From: feeds.cbsnews.com

Theresa May refuses to criticise police for warning journalists not to publish Kim Darroch leaks

Added: 15.07.2019 16:18 | 16 views | 0 comments

Theresa May has refused to criticise the Metropolitan Police for its controversial warning to journalists not to publish Kim Darroch's leaked criticisms of Donald...

From: https:

Puerto Rico governor rejects calls to resign over profane and derogatory group chat

Added: 15.07.2019 13:14 | 20 views | 0 comments

Puerto Rico's governor faces new calls to resign over leaked conversations that reveal his role in a profane, sexist and homophobic group chat. The island has struggled to recover from Hurricane Maria in 2017 and Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s administration has been plagued by scandals involving funding. Two top officials stepped down this weekend after the leaked group chat. It showed Rosselló and his allies discussing confidential government information and disparaging officials, politicians and journalists. David Begnaud reports.

From: feeds.cbsnews.com

Puerto Rico governor urged to resign over derogatory group chat

Added: 15.07.2019 13:00 | 3 views | 0 comments

New calls for Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to step down after leak of conversations targeting critics, slandering other officials, politicians and journalists

From: feeds.cbsnews.com

Older articles »
advertising

Copyright © 2008-2019 USweekly  - all rights reserved