Lena Forsén

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Lena Forsén
Playboy centerfold appearance
November 1972
Preceded bySharon Johansen
Succeeded byMercy Rooney
Personal details
Born (1951-03-31) 31 March 1951 (age 70)

Lena Forsén,[1] (Swedish pronunciation: [leːˈna fʊˈʂeːn]) previously Soderberg,[2] born Sjööblom[2] (born 31 March 1951), is a Swedish model who appeared as a Playmate in the November 1972 issue of Playboy magazine,[3] as Lenna Sjööblom. Her centerfold was photographed by Dwight Hooker. The image would later become a ubiquitous standard test image in the field of digital image processing, where the image is known as Lenna.



Forsén's career began by modelling jewellery and for catalogues in Chicago, Illinois, after moving to the United States from Sweden to be an au pair for a family member. In 1972, she was shot for the centerfold of the November issue of Playboy magazine. After that, she moved to Rochester, New York, and became a "Shirley" – a Kodak model – while moonlighting as a bartender. Thereafter she appeared on a large number of Kodak publications, including in ads for products, in catalogs, and on instruction booklets.[1]


A cropped version (the head and shoulder section) of her centerfold, known as Lenna, has become a standard test image that is often used to test algorithms in digital image processing.[4] She was a guest at the 50th annual Conference of the Society for Imaging Science and Technology (IS&T) in 1997, where she gave a presentation about herself.[2] Because of the ubiquity of her Playboy photo scan, she has been called the "first lady of the internet".[5][6] The title was given to her by Jeff Seideman in a press release he issued announcing her appearance at the 50th annual IS&T Conference.[citation needed] In January 2019 she said that while she wished she had been better compensated, she was "really proud of that picture".[1] However, in a short documentary titled Losing Lena that premiered in North America in November that year, she says, "I retired from modeling a long time ago. It’s time I retired from tech, too."[7]

After modelling[edit]

In 1997, Forsén worked for a government agency supervising handicapped employees, archiving data using computers and scanners.[8][9]

Personal life[edit]

Forsén has been married twice, has three children, and multiple grandchildren.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Kinstler, Linda (2019-01-31). "Finding Lena, the Patron Saint of JPEGs". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2019-11-29.
  2. ^ a b c Chuck Rosenberg (1998-11-01). "Imaging Experts Meet Lenna in Person". lenna.org. Retrieved 2021-11-13.
  3. ^ "Playmate of the Month". Playboy Magazine. November 1972.
  4. ^ Hutchison, Jamie (May–June 2001). "Culture, Communication, and an Information Age Madonna" (PDF). IEEE Professional Communication Society Newsletter'. 45 (3).
  5. ^ "Playboy photo shrunk to hair size". BBC News. 2012-08-14. Retrieved 2020-06-10.
  6. ^ "Playboy Newsdesk - Lena". Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  7. ^ Kibbe, Kayla (2019-12-03). "How a Nude 'Playboy' Photo Became a Fixture in the Tech World". Inside Hook – via San Francisco Chronicle.
  8. ^ "Newsdesk - THE SEARCH FOR LENA: Discovering one Playmate's role in the history of the Internet". Playboy. Archived from the original on 1997-07-04. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  9. ^ "THE "LENA IMAGE" COMES TO LIFE". Playboy. May 1997. Archived from the original on 1997-07-04. Retrieved 19 October 2020.

External links[edit]