"A Snake Charmer with a Camera" : Nina Leen's Contributions to Life Magazine: 1940-1972
thesisposted on 08.06.2021, 14:44 by Erin Levitsky
Nina Leen (c. 1909–1995) was a Russian-born émigré photographer who worked for Life magazine from 1940–1972, contributing photographs to stories published in 374 issues. Leen’s photography received little attention following her death, as her working method, oeuvre, and character depart from those of the archetypal photojournalist. Using digital reproductions of Leen’s photographic prints and negatives from the Life Photo Collection, a full run of Life, and archival documents housed in the Time Inc. Records at the New-York Historical Society, this thesis evaluates Leen’s contributions to both Life magazine and the field of photojournalism. An introduction, literature survey, and methodological description contextualize Leen’s career. Two appendices and a list of figures present images selected in this thesis, and the issues and sections of Life in which Leen’s photographs were published. Three chapters discuss the beginning of Leen’s career and her typical approach to magazine photography, and two chapters analyze the years leading up to Life’s conclusion as a weekly magazine, when Leen held more command over her output.
DegreeMaster of Arts
ProgramFilm and Photography Preservation and Collections Management
Granting InstitutionRyerson University
LAC Thesis TypeThesis
Photography, Artistic.Photographers -- United States -- BiographyPhotojournalists -- United States -- Biography.Photojournalism -- United States -- HistoryJournalism, Pictorial -- United States -- HistoryDocumentary photography -- United States -- Social aspectsUnited States -- Social life and customs -- Pictorial worksLeen, Nina, 1909-1995Life (Chicago, Ill.)