The Woman in the Photograph
By Dana Gynther
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: 8/4/2015
My Rating: 4 Stars
Set in the romantic glow of 1920s Paris, a captivating novel of New York socialite and model Lee Miller, whose glamorous looks and joie de vivre caught the eye of Man Ray, one of the twentieth century’s defining photographers.
1929, Montparnasse. Model and woman about town Lee Miller moves to Paris determined to make herself known amidst the giddy circle of celebrated artists, authors, and photographers currently holding court in the city. She seeks out the charming, charismatic artist Man Ray to become his assistant but soon becomes much more than that: his model, his lover, his muse.
Coming into her own more fully every day, Lee models, begins working on her own projects, and even stars in a film, provoking the jealousy of the older and possessive Man Ray. Drinking and carousing is the order of the day, but while hobnobbing with the likes of Picasso and Charlie Chaplin, she also falls in love with the art of photography and finds that her own vision can no longer come second to her mentor’s. The Woman in the Photograph is the richly drawn, tempestuous novel about a talented and fearless young woman caught up in one of the most fascinating times of the twentieth century.
About the Author
Dana Gynther was raised in St. Louis, Missouri, and Auburn, Alabama. She has an MA in French Literature from the University of Alabama. She has lived in France and currently lives in Valencia, Spain, where she and her husband work as teachers and translators. They have two daughters and an extremely vocal cat.
She is the author of Crossing on the Paris (2012) and upcoming The Woman in the Photograph, August, 2015. Read More
A special thank you to Gallery Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
The captivating and talented Lee Miller’s life in Paris in the 1920s-- full of glamour and excitement, THE WOMAN IN THE PHOTOGRAPH by Dana Gynther, is a stunning portrayal of blending fact and fiction a fascinating life in one of the most romantic times in the twentieth century.
Born in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1907, Lee Miller was a successful fashion model in New York City in the 1920s before going to Paris, where she became an established fashion and fine art photographer. During the Second World War, she became an acclaimed war correspondent for Vogue, covering events such as the London Blitz, the liberation of Paris, and the concentration camps at Buchenwald and Dachau.
In 1929, Miller traveled to Paris with the intention of apprenticing herself to the surrealist artist and photographer Man Ray, to be a part of the creative groups of artists, authors, and photographers. She was told to look up Man Ray, the best photographer in Paris, even though he was a New Yorker—she learned he was extremely innovative, doing abstract work, surrealist art, portraits, film and often fashion shoots. She seeks out the charming and charismatic artist to become his assistant, but of course soon she becomes his co-collaborator, model, his lover, and his muse.
Lee Miller, the glamorous fashion model, and Man Ray, photographer, were made for one another---Two creative minds.
“As he spooned a bite of his chocolate soufflé into her open mouth, she caught a glimpse of the two of them in the mirror behind the bar. Although she felt the smoldering intensity between them, she saw that from the outside, they looked like opposites; old and young, short and tall, dark and light, serious and gay. But that night in the sleeper car, in his arms, she thought they made a perfect match.”
Could opposites be attracted to one another? They soon become enthralled with one another, even though complicated, passionate, obsessive, dangerous, and sensual.
Soon thereafter, she began working on her own projects and falls in love with the art of photography and finds her own vision cannot come second to her mentor’s. Lee is a deep and complex woman, and enjoyed the author’s look at artists with their extremes of pleasure and pain.
A fascinating and intriguing look into this glamorous time, and a fearless and complex woman--capturing the beauty and creativity of the era. Like many of the famous men of this time, they are possessive, moody, dark, and all consuming. Lee does not get completely pulled under and able to establish her own identity, with her earlier childhood trauma and need for independence.
Historical fans will enjoy this elegantly written, well researched novel--Gynther, transcends you to the place and time with vivid settings and descriptions. From the witty, charming, and talented characters--eccentric, creative, alluring, sensual, passion, obsession, fashionable, to exotic. Loved the glamorous cover. Well done!