Mexico, 1995

Mexico, 1995

Sarah Leen

Sarah is Director of Photography at National Geographic magazine. 


From 2000:

In 1979, as a student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, I was awarded a National Geographic Society internship after winning the College Photographer of the Year competition. That summer, the Director of Photography, Robert Gilka, had either enough faith in my skills, or took pity on me, and assigned me to my first magazine story that was published in the July 1980 issue as "Return to Uganda". 

After my internship I went on to work for a series of newspapers including the Topeka (KS) Capital Journal, The Columbia (MO) Daily Tribune and The Philadelphia Inquirer. That is one short sentence about a very important time in my life which gave me all the professional skills I rely on today.

But my dream was always to work again for the National Geographic. In 1988 I left the Philadelphia Inquirer and began to freelance for a variety of magazines including the National Geographic. I have, to date, published 14 stories in the magazine and have also worked on a number of books for the National Geographic Book division including "American Back Roads", a book of my work published in the spring of 2000.

I live by the Chesapeake Bay in Edgewater, Maryland with my husband Bill Marr and our three cats. Bill and I are partners in Open Books, LLC. a book-packaging and design company specializing in photographic subjects. I do photo research and picture editing and generate fabulous book ideas that we can never find publishers for; Bill does all the real work.We will soon have a link to Open Books, LLC. and you can see his marvelous designs and give him jobs because if he is not working fourteen hours a day he is a bear to live with.

Teaching has become an important component of my career. I teach every summer at the Maine Photographic Workshops in Rockport, Maine. I also teach for my alma mater the Univeristy of Missouri School of Journalism's Missouri Photo Workshop. This unique workshop travels to a different town in Missouri every year and focuses on producing documentary picture stories. The past few years I have also begun teaching at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre and attending their annual photo festival Fotofusion. Please check my calendar page for the list of workshops I will be teaching this year.

Most of the work included on this website is from my National Geographic assignments and books. This site is a virtual portfolio. There are many more images from these stories and other stories I have not posted here and much of it is available as stock. Fine art prints of the images on this site are also available. Please check the contact page for more information. 







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