Nathan Lerner was born in Chicago in 1915. He began his studies in painting at the National Academy of Art and the School of the Art Institute. He also studies painting with Samuel Ostrofsky at the Jewish People’s Institute. In 1937 he was among the first students to enroll at the new Bauhaus in Chicago and moved with the school through its various stages of reorganization and development as a student, teacher and administrator. Lerner began to work with the camera in 1932 but still thought of himself primarily as a painter. As a member of the innovative first generation of the New Bauhaus he became involved with photographic experimentation and the device of his own invention, the light box. Gradually Nathan Lerner devoted more time and energy to photography and by the early seventies he was recognized first as a photographer.