Sunday, 29 June 2014

Lee Miller/ James Joyce

In Dublin for a conference a couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate to be surrounded by 'Bloomsday' excitement -- and felt drawn particularly to a new event at the James Joyce centre, 'Lee Miller in James Joyce's Dublin'. I've followed Miller's work in different ways over the years -- saw portraits of her by Man Ray at the National Portrait Gallery in London, visited Farley Farm House (the home she shared with Roland Penrose and a focal point for British surrealism), marvelled at those famous photographs of Miller in Hitler's bath -- but these small, quiet snapshots of life in Dublin in 1946 were somehow just as, if not more, affecting. In the photographs Miller traces the journeys of Ulysses and Dubliners but also encounters the people and places that shaped Joyce's life and work (he had died in 1941, previous to her photographic Odyssey), and she does so with stillness and grace. There is very little of the tourist gaze in these photographs, which makes the American photographer's work all the more valuable I think.

Advertising poster for 2014's Bloomsday Festival, James Joyce Centre, Dublin