February 22, 2024

On April 30, 1945, Lee Miller took a bath in Hitler’s tub, captured by her lover David Scherman, an episode later deemed a visual metaphor for the end of World War II. Earlier that day, she had visited the recently liberated Dachau concentration camp. Before her photographic work, she gained some notoriety as a child model and also as a fashion photographer. After the war, the exhibition “Seeing Is Believing: Lee Miller and Friends” displayed her photographs alongside those of various artists, including Picasso. She ended up becoming a war correspondent by happenstance after taking haunting pictures of the London Blitz and the French port city of Saint-Malo during World War II. She sent harsh but important dispatches from various front lines, including photographs of the discoveries at the Buchenwald concentration camp. Upon visiting Hitler’s residence, her letter to British Vogue’s editor noted his reduced fabulousness but increased terror. Following the war, Miller fell into despair until she found redemption in cooking. She became a well-studied cook who threw famous Surrealist dinner parties and also served food on a silver platter she had taken from Hitler’s home.