Reprise

Lee Miller, Portrait of Space, 1937. Gelatin silver print. 13.3 x 12.4 cm.

Lee Miller, Portrait of Space, 1937. Gelatin silver print. 13.3 x 12.4 cm.

A Lee Miller photograph as an overture to sporadic summertime posting!

Miller made this photograph while visiting the Siwa Oasis in Egypt. She took it from inside an abandoned bungalow belonging to traveling officials.

On the recently established website dedicated to her archives, you can see the original snapshot from which she cropped and enlarged this image. The archive is fascinating to click through, even if the images are irritatingly (if self-explanatorily) watermarked for viewing unpleasure.

Miller described the rectangle sewn into the screen as what would have earlier been an opening used to “reach through the mosquito netting to latch or unlatch the sand storm shutters” (in Mark Haworth-Booth, The Art of Lee Miller, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2007, p. 133).

By the time she entered the bungalow, this original opening had been made accessory to the beautiful rent beneath it. Space’s portrait is only ever its frame.

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