23 Pictures Show How Strangely Beautiful The 1940s Really Were
Take a look inside the bizarre and beautiful world of Life Magazine photographer Nina Leen, aka "The Lenslady."
In 1939, a young photographer named Nina Leen fled Europe from fascist rule and began her career in America as one of Life Magazine's first female photographers.
A new exhibition at Daniel Cooney Fine Art in New York City celebrates her prolific career and shows her unique talent for transforming the everyday into surreal and seemingly mystical photographs.
Nina Leen was born in Russia and had already established herself as a respected photographer in Europe before migrating to America during the onslaught of World War II.
She was heavily influenced by surrealism in the arts and would translate that influence into representations of American culture and lifestyle.
One of her most popular and bizarre photo essays was on Tommy Tucker, a celebrity gray squirrel who would dress up like a real person in the 1940s.
Many of her photos also acknowledged the incredible strain of World War II on daily life in America.
Mannequin dressed to illustrate the clothing shortage during WWII.
Other pictures represented shifting gender roles in popular culture and provided insight into future tech.
Another of her more popular photo essays featured the cute (and sometimes stubborn) pets of New York City's revered celebrities of the era.
Left: Music conductor Andre Kostelanetz with his sheepdog Puff gets attention from a young admirer on the street. Right: Actor John Boles pulls and coaxes his stubborn schnauzer puppy to leap over concrete curb on street.