Sarah Leen is the current and first female Director of Photography for National Geographic magazine. For nearly 20 years prior she worked as a freelance photographer for the National Geographic magazine until 2004 when she joined the staff as a Senior Photo Editor. Sarah published sixteen stories and produced five covers for the National Geographic magazine.
As Director of Photography she leads the photo editing staff for National Geographic magazine, Traveler magazine, the NatGeo photography studio and photo engineering team, and photography team producing both online visual storytelling and video.
In 1979, as a student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia, Missouri, Leen received the College Photographer of the Year award earning an internship at the magazine where she produced her first published story, “Return to Uganda.” She then went on to work as a staff photographer for the Topeka (Kansas) Capital-Journal and the Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) Inquirer, where she received a Robert F. Kennedy Award honorable mention for a photo documentary on Alzheimer’s disease. Sarah has also won numerous awards for both her photography and photo editing from the Pictures of the Year competition and the World Press Photo Awards.
She has juried numerous contests including Pictures of the Year International, Lens Culture, Critical Mass, The W. Eugene Smith Grants and the Getty Images Editorial Grants and the World Press Joop Swarts Masterclass.
Leen has taught photography and photo editing workshops at the Missouri Photo Workshops, the International Center for Photography in New York, the Maine Photographic Workshops, the Santa Fe Workshops and the Palm Beach Centre for Photography.