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November 30, 2019

Stunning Fashion Photography in Color by Nina Leen

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.

Models wearing Betty Rose design Glenara garments, 1952.

Model sitting in the museum in Connecticut, 1954.

An unidentified model, in a David Goodstein-designed outfit, looks at paintings in a museum, New York, 1954.

Models wearing country style outfits near barn, Connecticut, 1954.

Woman modelling an evening wear in Connecticut, 1954.

Low-angle view of a model in a long, wool coat with plaid, autumn colors, as she stands in front of a glass-walled building, New York, 1954.

An unidentified model in a long, cream-colored wool coat and gold heels walks under an awning, New York, 1954.

An unidentified model, in a Tom Brigance-designed outfit, walks a poodle on a city street, 1954.

An unidentified model, in a Tom Brigance-designed outfit, walks a trio of dogs along a path, New York, 1954.

Model posing while sitting at a table and holding a drink, 1955.

Model wearing a fashionable hat,  1955.

Model wearing a fashionable hat,  1955.

Model wearing a pleated skirt in Scottsdale, Arizona, 1955.

Woman driving with a dog inside the car, Scottsdale, Arizona, 1955.

Woman wearing the emerging fashion trends in Scottsdale, Arizona, 1955.

Woman trying on shoes, modeling the emerging fashion trends of the local people, Scottsdale, Arizona, 1955.

An undentied fashion model poses in a blue, felt bolero jacket with a Navajo-inspired sequin pattern , Scottsdale, Arizona, 1956.

Woman brandishing fur trimmed dress and silver bracelets, 1957.

Women wearing a leopard print fashions, 1957.

On a terraced roof garden of the Macy's Herald Square department store building, a trio of Macy's designers look at a model dressed in a street-fashion adaptation of a flight suit, New York, 1958.


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