SCENE | Fairfield County, Connecticut, 1949.

Photos of Fairfield County residents by Nina Leen for LIFE, 1949.

Nina Leen, one of LIFE Magazine's most prolific photographers, was one of the publication's first camerawomen. A few years ago The New Yorker argued that her photos were intensely layered. An interesting opinion given how bucolic this series looks at first glance.

"Though many of Leen’s assignments were quite pedestrian—her photos have titles like “A Couple Looking for a House to Buy,” “Children Attending a Birthday Party,” and “American Women Playing Bridge”—her images are packed with as much violence, sexual tension, and mystery as any David Lynch film. Her photos wouldn’t look out of place next to Cindy Sherman’s on a gallery wall. But, unlike Lynch or Sherman, Leen found tension in the real world, and her subjects weren’t actors—they were just everyday people living out their lives."—James Pomerantz, The Surreal World of Nina Leen.