Lennart Nilsson (born 24 August 1922) is a Swedish photographer and scientist. He is noted for his photographs of in vivo human embryos and other medical subjects once considered unphotographable, and more generally for his extreme macro photography. He is also considered to be among Sweden’s first modern photojournalists.
Lennart Nilsson was born in Strängnäs, Sweden. His father and uncle were both photographers. His father gave him his first camera at age twelve. When he was approximately fifteen, he saw a documentary about Louis Pasteur that made him interested in microscopy. Within a few years, Nilsson had acquired a microscope and was making microphotographs of insects.
In his late teens and twenties, he began taking a series of environmental portraits with an Icoflex Zeiss camera, and had the opportunity to photograph many famous Swedes.
He began his professional career in the mid-1940s as a freelance photographer, working frequently for the publisher Åhlen & Åkerlund of Stockholm. One of his earliest assignments was covering the liberation of Norway in 1945 during World War II. Some of his early photo essays, notably A Midwife in Lapland (1945), Polar Bear Hunting in Spitzbergen (1947), and Fishermen at the Congo River (1948), brought him international attention after publication in Life, Illustrated, Picture Post, and elsewhere...
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