Lee Miller was born in Ploughkeepsie, New York, in 1904. Her father was an engineer and an amateur photographer and trained her to use the camera at an early age.
Lee moved to New York in 1927 where she worked as a model. Photographed by Edward Steichen, she appeared on the front cover of Vogue. However, determined to become a photographer, she studied at the Arts Students League (1927-29) and opened her own studio in the city in 1932.
After her marriage to the the art historian, Roland Penrose, Miller moved to London where she worked as a photographer for Vogue. Miller also photographed the impact of the Blitz on the British people and this was published in the book Grim Glory.
In 1942 Miller became an official war correspondent for U.S. forces in Europe. She accompanied Allied troops during the liberation of France and photographed the scenes when the Red Army and the US Army joined up for the first time on the Elbe River. Miller was also with the troops when they liberated Buchenwald and Dachau.
At the end of the war Miller returned to England where she continued to work as a freelance journalist and photographer. Lee Miller died in Chiddingly, Sussex, in 1977.