Nina Leen


Nina Leen Biography

1914 - 1995


In the mid 1940’s, Nina Leen worked as contract photographer for LIFE’s magazine, where her photographs were chosen for over 50 covers, and numerous spreads. Russian born, Leen lived in Germany, Switzerland and Italy, where she became known for her skills as an animal photographer.

As a child, Leen always wanted to be a photographer. Her first camera, bought in Europe when she was still an amateur, was a Rolleiflex that she continued to use throughout her assignments for LIFE.

During her early years with LIFE magazine, Nina Leen did a number of memorable stories about teenagers. She was an expert observer of the mannerisms of her new country, which can be seen in her series on, "A Teenager Monopolizes the Telephone," and her descriptions and images of "The American Male". Leen is also well known for her iconic fashion photography, covering Paris shows in the 1940s and onward.

Leen published 15 books in her lifetime, at an average rate of two per every year after LIFE Magazine stopped printing issues. Nina Leen died at her home in New York City on January 1, 1995.