Photo Editors Series – Sarah Leen

Virtual event


July 19, 2022
12:00–13:15PM EDT

Photo by Joachim Ladefoged/VII.

The Photo Editors Series are conversations with well-known photo editors about how they view the media today, the role of visuals in reporting, the work they like to see, and advice for photographers on how best to connect with publishers.

Hosted by David Campbell and Ilvy Njiokiktjien, the series will combine an overview of the contemporary media landscape with practical tips. The editors in the series will speak as individuals rather than representatives of their organizations, and the event will be interactive with good opportunities for audience questions.

In this sixth episode, we will be speaking with Sarah Leen, founder of The Visual Thinking Collective and the former Directory of Photography for National Geographic Magazine and Visual Media.

This event was recorded and you can watch the video here


Sarah Leen

In 2019, Sarah Leen founded The Visual Thinking Collective as a community for independent photo editors, teachers, and visual managers to serve photographers, media, art and academic institutions, NGOs, and corporate clients in telling their stories in unique, authentic, and highly visual ways. In 2014, Sarah became the first female Directory of Photography for National Geographic Magazine and Visual Media. She led a team of photo editors, photo researchers, freelance photographers, staff studio photographers, and a photo engineer. She assigned all photographers, and departmental budgets, and led the visual content for both the National Geographic magazine and the Nat Geo Traveler magazine. For nearly 20 years prior, she worked as a freelance photographer for National Geographic magazine until 2004, when she joined the staff as a Senior Photo Editor. Leen published 16 photo stories and produced five covers for the magazine. Sarah has also won numerous awards for both her photography and photo editing from the NPPA, the Pictures of the Year, and the World Press Photo Awards.
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