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Francis Miller - Photographer
Photographer for the 1958 Mariemont, OH - High School 32 Hour Graduation Celebration - LIFE Magazine layout
Sid Note:         The following excerpts are what I could find on the net,  Not much biographical information written out there about Miller and his work. Although some sources have many samples of his pictures.  So I copied what I could - with attributions - of course.
My Disclaimer             >>>> Some links (to images mainly) >>>  Francis Miller  Time- Life Pictures     ///     Getty Images
Excerpts beyond this point:
Art Shay (younger guy) with Francis Reeves Miller. (Image Credit: Art Shay)
(Image from the article below)
(Article excerpt)
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From the Vault of Art Shay:   My Guru
By Art Shay in News on September 14, 2011 2:00 PM       Art Shay profile

When I became a lowly Life reporter in 1947, I dizzily wandered the halls of the Time-Life Building above that Rockefeller Center skating rink, above that strenuous statue of the earth being held on Atlas's shoulders and Paul Manship's glitzy rendition of Prometheus giving man fire.

The statues weren't the sexiest objects sighted by a young reporter - there were the bouncy girls in their summer frocks, letting the glory of their newly burgeoning postwar sex hang out, smelling of Chanel No. 5 and its imitators, striding into their fifty buck a week lives like those Soviet statues of an earlier generation, without the baggage of earth motherhood and an 80-inch bust.

It was the best of times and the best of times. My job as a freshman was to guard the "news" desk editors from drop-in nuts and PR men hawking products, politicians, actresses, stunts, all designed to capture a free page in Life worth about $50,000 in the advertising market. Henrik Ten Eyck was sure he'd discovered the Iroquois Rosetta stone proving that Norsemen had mated with Indians in 1200 and given them words that were the same in Norse as they were in Iroquois. Words like "ohye" for eye. Waiting to see me was an agent with a big-boobed starlet in tow. She'd be starring in a TV series and was available for "editorial parties." There was a guy from Gristedes grocery chain promising to fry eggs on the sidewalk when it got up to 91 degrees. Paid by Perdue eggs. There was a citrus man leading a red-headed kid, age three, who ate lemons and eschewed ice cream cones. (That story got in!)

But the best show was the great Life photographers and contributing geniuses like Ansel Adams who desultorily milled around on the 31st floor where most of the magazine happened. The day I met Adams, a big, balding outdoorsy man, he was flummoxed by the very first electronic flash, sent by Heiland, a Milwaukee strobe firm. "Imagine- not having to use flashbulbs!" Adams exclaimed to Margaret Bourke White, who had flashbulbed her way through WWII and told the story of one of her No. 22 bulbs exploding as she posed Stalin -- and he hid behind a sofa thinking someone was shooting at him: "He made me give him the film of him cowering," she said.

There was Ralph "Rudy" Crane, a Gregory Peck look-alike who was said to have the highest Lothario score on the magazine: afternoons with the likes of Joan Crawford, Bette Davis and early Marilyn Monroe.

And just there, loading up on martinis and canapes were two younger lady photogs whose access to famous politicians, even a President or two, was based not so much on how they wielded their Leica wide angle and telephotos, but on how they wriggled their asses and teased the older guys with the sense that their fabled honey pots were merely part of their equipage designed to get pictures "in the book." These games traditionally worked both ways but didn't become an art or an exchange device until JFK appeared.

I would get in trouble in Washington, when I discovered a fuddy duddy Michigan Senator with his hot-to-trot DC bimbo. Young Washington correspondent that I was, I told my first staff meeting, ""What if we did a gallery of six or seven of these ladies and their Senators?" I was laughed out of the room. Time and Life and everyone else knew all about these liaisons, and had the phone numbers of the love nests in case of a political emergency. There had been a press omerta against sex revelations for years.

And I hadn't even taken up the camera yet, or, as my new hero photog Francis Reeves Miller would say, "till yet."

I met my guru to be in Washington. A venomous male-hating lady picture editor had said, "You'll be working with Miller, but not for long -- he's 43 -- so we'll be getting rid of him." I was 26 and safe for a while.

Miller was a Texan who hid shots of rye in the little yellow film cans Kodak used to pack their film. He juggled these cans artfully until he became bleary eyed and I had to work the cameras for him. Francis went by the appellation "Nig" ever since he had done a story as a UPI photographer friendly to African Americans.The name was given him by Nasty McCormick, a legendary hater of everyone and everything.

It was Nig who taught me the art of hiding cameras in shoe shine boxes,briefcases, cigarette lighters, in elaborate bow ties, in holes in jackets my wife would come to hate. He taught me the art of the stakeout, especially of Mafia types. We would work 600 mm lenses before SI was born (one reason they chose me to shoot for them in Chicago: I collected these telephotos or inherited them from my eventual guru.)

One day we were staking out a DC area Mafia leader on his Maryland farm. Miller, who was given to hard-nosed Texas philosophy, said, "Look at them Rhode Island roosters, De Mille," his nickname for me for arranging and directing elaborate Life pictures. "Not a care in the world; just catching their breath between fucks. Damn! Wouldn't that be the life!" Just then our Mafia man appeared carrying a curved knife. He grabbed the roosters and beheaded them. Lesson learned. "Don't waste time with fuckin'," he concluded lamely. "Let it come to you, don't go to it."

I did some 40 stories with Nig and sometimes, when I took up the camera, competing with him. In 1954 at West Branch, Iowa, I was shooting President Hoover's 80th birthday celebration for Time. Nig was shooting for Life. I sneaked into the tiny cabin in which Hoover had been born and no doubt conceived with the family -- all 11 of them -- cameras well hidden as Nig had taught me. I even had one in a hollowed out Bible! There must have been 200 photogs all over the area but I was able to get several frames before I was identified as a non-family member and thrown out. BUT as I shot my picture of Hoover against a window I could see, through the window, just one other photographer - Francis Reeves Miller! He had wormed his way to the back of the building and gotten the only other picture of Hoover visiting his birth bed! We celebrated later with Nig doing the drinking for both of us.

Miller was the first smart Southerner ( excepting one or two wartime buddies) I had ever met. He drawled like W.C. Fields. It was he who had gotten me a caption that got me in trouble. On a Christmas bird count story in DC, he had photographed a young woman who'd said to bird guru Roger Tory Peterson, "Professor, I think I've got three tits!" "So you have," said Roger Tory with a twinkle, which I captured in my caption. "Three tufted titmice."

Nothing became Miller's unsung career - he was too gruff to be accorded any reputation except for getting the picture every time he was sent out - as its beginnings. He had been a Lt. Commander in photography in the Navy. In 1942, in Reykjavik, he got into a drunken sidewalk brawl with an Icelandic Marine .The Marine's head hit the curb and he died. The Navy immediately shipped Miller to Australia. There he went from his ship to a small circus to hunt for booze- and he met a beautiful acrobat, Vonnie, who he married and with whom he had three children. Last I saw him working, there was his white mane on TV, racing around the deck of a Navy ship that had just landed three astronauts.

It's been my fortune these days to have been enlisted as a photographic guru by three pretty good photographers. 

They always bring back to me memories of Miller throwing me the left-over unused rolls he brought home from Life assignments after I had gone out on my own, to help me get started. Hell, TRI-X was a buck a roll in those days. His admonitions to "keep shootin' whatever else was happenin" and to always speak well of associates who might put in a good or bad word about you to the boss. A holdover from his Depression-era start, I'm sure, but probably still good advice. 

My surgeon "student" roams the world, bringing back beautiful color views of natives on Fuji and rainbows in Ireland. He must be tougher on himself when editing his fine pictures. 

My LaSalle Street floor-trader shooter is finally moving up from his iPod camera and has become such a great observer I use one of his colorful views of an alien line of wash as a background for my incoming calls. 

My third guy, much more technically adept than I, just found an historic Retina film camera for his Kodak collection, and threatens to run some film through it one of these days.

All three of these guys, I'm happy to say, needed what I got from Francis Reeves Miller: the confidence of half-drunkenly (no liquor for me, because I love the art) putting down on film something that your eye and mind have wondered about a magic instant ago. 

Doing it as my sneakers advertise, is the best advice any guru can give. 

But I still envy Rudy Crane's telling me after I schlepped his gear to the California location of "The Magic Spot" how it felt to pack up his cameras in Joan Crawford's vestibule after a shoot and have the great lady slink in wearing a nightgown, holding two martinis and suggesting if he has a spare hour, they try the rebuilt pool before he goes home.

Art Shay's book, Nelson Algren's Chicago, is also available at Amazon

Sid Note: Although a search for Francis Miller yielded very little, here is the results for Art Shay

Bonus links from The Vault Of Art Shay:

My Great War

A WW II Flier's Thoughts on Memorial Day

Another bonus.

If you like photography and enjoy the great work produced by America's best photogs at the hey-day of LIFE Magazine here is another one to check out: Ralph Morse

Excerpted from an eBay write-up on a page that was selling some Miller prints.

Author unknown.     Veracity unverifiable.

When Francis Miller was about twelve years old he got his first camera, a Brownie, and began developing his films in the family bathtub. He studied journalism at the University of Texas, was sports editor of the Daily Texan, a college newspaper, and managing editor of the Texas comic monthly, The Texas Ranger. He studied art in the Chicago Academy in the summers. 

In 1927 when he was twenty-one, he went to work for the Houston Press as a combination artist, reporter and photographer. He had only dabbled in photography, but as a reporter he soon learned that the camera can tell a story better than words, so he became a pioneer in candid news photography. As a reporter covering the southwest, Miller was a journalistic jack-of-all-trades, writing news stories, taking the pictures for them and often making the layouts. He also drew cartoons, wrote a biography of W. Lee O'Daniel, which was a Texas best seller when O'Daniel became governor of the state, and published numerous short stories. Miller was the first to cover a Caesarian birth fully with pictures for the press, which, when published, attracted much attention, and then was finally used in TIME, before the advent of LIFE Magazine.

'Nig' (Francis' nickname) Miller freelanced for LIFE before the war and became a LIFE staff photographer in 1947, and was based in Chicago. During the war he worked for Naval Intelligence and was a combat photographer. In 1945, the Navy ordered him from Iceland to Australia where he met and married an Australian girl. 

They had two children. Miller was an artist at concealed camera photography. He had hidden miniature cameras rigged behind his tie, in half-open brief cases and in hollowed-out books to make pictures in closed political sessions where the participants would just as soon have no photography.

Miller transferred to Washington D.C in 1964 and worked out of LIFE's Washington, D.C. and Atlanta news bureaus. Miller combined ingenuity and ability: in 1952 he photographed a Republican National Committee meeting in Chicago with two hidden cameras. Six years later, he used similar tactics to photograph a band of gamblers in Cuba.

His warm heart for animals brought Miller, in 1964, to photograph the presidential beagles on the White House lawn. Miller brought with him for this assignment, not only his 30 years of experience, also a rubber bone, sack full of Dog Yummies, and a harmonica. Miller stretched himself out on the lawn of the White House and alternately barked like a dog, tossed the bone in the air, plied the beagles with Dog Yummies and huffed into the harmonica. This juggling act, which came easily to Miller, left his right hand and his right eye free to shoot the assignment. 

Miller retired from LIFE in 1968. He lived in Washington D.C. until his death on November 5, 1973 at the age of 67. 

Formal Dance - The 32 Hour Prom
1958 Mariemont, OH - From LIFE Magazine
Photo by Francis Reeves Miller
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