Some Vintage Inspiration: Nina Leen Photographs


Nina Leen, pictured above working with a model, was a Russian-born photographer who was one of the first female photographers to work for Life Magazine in the 1940s. If you do a quick search on her online her work has been placed with David Lynch, Cindy Sherman, or Alfred Hitchcock. Just having a glimpse at some of her photographs and you can see why. Her work tells a narrative that’s mysterious, surreal, and at times filled with sexual tension.

You can see more of her work in context on the Life Magazine website (see link below). My personal favorite from the collection above is the photo of the dress with the model’s head printed all over it. Not only is it wonderfully bizarre but I learned something new from it too. Did you know that printing photographs on fabric was an innovative technique introduced in the late 1940s? I had no idea that this was a process that had originated well over 60 years ago!

What do you think of Nina Leen’s work? Do you also have a favorite photo of hers?


photo credits: Life Magazine; ‘The Surreal World of Nina Leen’, The New Yorker; ‘Faces: The Weird World of Nina Leen’, WildBeautyWorld.com

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