Leo Rubinfien (b. 1953, Chicago, Illinois) is an American photographer and essayist. He lives and works in New York City.
Rubinfien first came to prominence as part of the circle of artist-photographers who investigated new color techniques and materials in the 1970s. His first one-person exhibition was held at Castelli Graphics, New York, in 1981 and he has since had solo exhibitions at institutions that include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Seattle Art Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, and the Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University. He is the author of two books of photographs, A Map of the East (Godine, Thames & Hudson, Toshi Shuppan, 1992), and Wounded Cities (Steidl, 2008.)
Rubinfien is also an active writer, who has published numerous extended essays on major photographers of the 20th century. He has contributed a memoir, “Colors of Daylight” to Starburst: Color Photography in America, 1970-1980 (Kevin Moore, Cincinnati Art Museum / Hatje Caantz 2010) and produced the long personal and historical essay in Wounded Cities, which recounts the attacks of September 11th, 2001 and the years that followed. In 2001-2004, he served as Guest Co-curator of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s retrospective of the work of Shomei Tomatsu and is co-author of Shomei Tomatsu / Skin of the Nation (Yale University Press, 2004). Since 2010, he has been serving as Guest Curator of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s retrospective of the work of Garry Winogrand, which will begin a world tour in 2013.
Rubinfien’s work has been acquired for numerous public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Seattle Art Museum, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Bibliotheque Nationale, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, the Fogg Museum at Harvard University, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Israel Museum and the Center for Creative Photography of the University of Arizona. He has held fellowships with the Guggenheim Foundation, Japan Foundation, Asian Cultural Council, and the International Center for Advanced Studies at New York University, and in 2009 was awarded the Gold Prize at the 5th Lianzhou International Photography Festival.