Sarah Leen. Ice Hockey on Lake Baikal, 1991.

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Young Russian hockey players pose with store bought and homemade hockey sticks along the shores of Lake Baikal in Siberia. Lake Baikal is deepest fresh water lake in the world and a sacred place for all of Russia. I spent over four months working all around Lake Baikal documenting the life of the villagers, fisherman, hunters, and indigenous peoples who called Baikal their home for a National Geographic magazine cover story. I traveled and lived on boats, trucks, busses, horse drawn sleds, and motorcycles with side cars. Life there in the early 1990s was beautiful in its simplicity yet often harsh. But the way of life had a special purity to it that I came to appreciate and deeply admire. I was very privileged to spend time there and experience something so primal and yet so fleeting.

In 2013 Sarah Leen became the first female Director of Photography at National Geographic Magazine and Partners. She worked as a contributing photographer to the National Geographic magazine for 20 years before becoming a Senior Photo Editor in 2004. Leen works as an independent photo editor of visual projects and photography books.

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