Nina Leen was a contract photographer for LIFE, a constant contributor from the 1940s until the magazine closed at the end of 1972. Born in Russia, Leen lived and studied in Italy, Switzerland and Germany before emigrating to the United States in 1939. During her time in Europe, Leen began taking pictures with her first camera, a Rolleiflex that she continued using throughout her work for LIFE. In her lifetime, Leen was behind over 50 magazine covers, contributed numerous reports from around the world and published 15 books of her photography.
Leen was also one of the most productive and masterly fashion photographers of LIFE. There is always the notable quality of discernment and linearity clearly shown in her fashion images. Below are some of Leen’s fashion works in color, taken mainly during the 1950s:
View, through a window, of a pair of unidentified models as they pose with umbrellas in a Macy’s department store daytime dresswear display, New York, 1948.
Skirt styles, 1950.
A model in a plaid dinner jacket holds a glass of beer as he talks with a group of seated woman at an outdoor party, 1950.
Woman reading book while wearing spring outfit, Washington, D.C., 1952.
Woman modeling an ensemble for spring, Washington, D.C., 1952.