Collections

Skip navigation
Media File
Nina Leen
Date: American (b. Russia) 1914-1995
Biography:

Born in Russia, photographer Nina Leen spent her childhood living in Italy, Switzerland, and Germany, where she bought a Rolliflex camera and began taking pictures. Moving to the United States in 1939, she was fascinated by American culture, and captured the life around her from the viewpoint of a removed observer. By 1945 she was one of the first female photographers to join the staff at LIFE magazine. During her time there she produced over forty covers and a myriad of spreads. Her relaxed manner allowed her subjects to let their guard down in front of her camera. Leen's versatility can be seen in the range of her subjects and the styles in which she photographed them. Her fashion images have a crisp, linear quality while her photographs of American culture are relaxed and without artifice. Leen published fifteen books of her photography, including: Images of Sound; Women, Heroes and a Frog; Love, Sunrise and Elevated Apes; and The World of Bats.

Alicia Josten