Nina Leen (born 1909 in Russia – 1995 in New York City) At Life Magazine Nina Leen was one of the first female photographers. She was known for her extreme patience and being able to make her subjects feel at ease. She was also able to see the minute details of the natural world and capture it well in her photography of animals. Her fashion photography was classy, classic and timeless.
Style Fashion and Animal Photography
Beginnings Nina Leen grew up in Italy, Germany and Switzerland, and using the first camera she brought in Europe, a Rolliflex, she became a successful animal photographer. When she arrived in the United States in 1939 she took an interest in the rituals and habits here and began to take photographs of basic life growing up here.
Career Nina started working at Life Magazine in 1945 and ended up doing 40 covers and a number of spreads for the magazine. She also photographed Kings and Queens of Europe, Paris fashion models, and actresses including Joan Caulfield. She soon became fascinated by bats and ended up doing an entire book about them and their behavior in 1970. She was so fascinated with them that she called them her flying kittens.
Series Nina Leen had a number of series, including ‘A Teenager Monopolizes the Telephone”, “The American Male”, and “The Irascribles” which was a photo of artists and painters who were protesting an anti-abstract bias for an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. If appeared in the Life Magazine Jun. 15, 1951 issue.
Business Ventures Nina published 15 books all together. Some of them are “World of Bats”, “And Then There Were None”, “Women, Heroes and a Frog”, “Love Sunrise and Elevated Apes”, “Dogs of All Sizes”, “The Snakes”, “Cats”, “Rare and Unusual Animals”, “Images of Sound”, “Taking Pictures” and “Monkey”.