Sarah Leen is the Director of Photography for National Geographic Magazine and Partners. Prior to joining the National Geographic staff in 2004 as a Senior Photo Editor, she worked as a freelance photographer for nearly twenty years publishing 16 stories and five covers for National Geographic magazine.
Leen supervises all visual content creation and photography staff for the National Geographic magazine and NatGeo Traveler.
Leen graduated with a BA in Fine Arts in 1974 from the University of Missouri, Columbia and continued with graduate studies at the Missouri School of Journalism. Leen was the College Photographer of the Year in 1979 and worked as a staff photographer for both the Topeka Capital Journal and the Philadelphia Inquirer until 1988.
Leen has won numerous awards for her photography and photo editing both in the Pictures of the Year (POYi) and the World Press Photos competition. In 2003 her image for the Nat Geo magazine story, “Skin: The Body’s Edge”, received second place in the Science and Technology category by World Press Photos. In 2007 and 2008 she won first place Magazine Picture Editing Portfolio from POYi and second place in 2011. Her team of photo editors has three times won the Angus MacDougall Overall Excellence in Editing Award from the POYi competition.
She has juried numerous contests including Pictures of the Year International, The W. Eugene Smith Grants and the Getty Images Editorial Grants, the World Press Joop Swarts Masterclass, the LensCulture-Magnum Photography Awards and the Carmignac Photojournalism Awards. Leen has attended and reviewed portfolios at many conferences and festivals including Visa Pour L’Image, Sante Fe Reveiws, Houston FotoFest, NY Times Portfolio Reviews, the Eddie Adams Photo Workshops, the Palm Springs Photo Festival and Photo Lucida.