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Russell Lee

photographer , teacher

Russell Lee was an American photographer and photojournalist,his technically excellent images documented the ethnography of various American classes and cultures.


Russell Lee was born in 1903 in Ottawa, Illinois, United States.


Lee received a degree in chemical engineering from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 1925. He studied painting from 1929 to 1935 and then began photography.


Since 1947 he has been a freelance photographer, and from 1965 to 1973 he was a lecturer in the Art Department of the University of Texas. Previously he had worked at the U.S. Department of Interior Coal Mines Administration (1946-47), for the Air Transport Command, U.S. Army (1943-45) and for the Farm Security Administration (1936-43). He also worked as a plant manager and chemist from 1925 to 1929.


  • PUBLICATIONS Monograph: Russell Lee: Photographer, F. Jack Hurley, 1978. Books: Executive Order 9066: The Internment of 110,000 Japanese Americans, Maisie & Richard Conrat, 1972; A Medical Survey of the Bituminous Coal Industry, J. T. Boone, 1947 (U.S. Dept, of the Interior: Wash., D.C.).


  • Resting farmer, Crowley, LA

  • Conversation at the General Store, near Jeanerette, Louisiana, 1938


Lee has been a member of ASMP since 1950.