Norman Lerner worked as a fashion and commercial photographer in New York City from the early 50's to the 70's. He maintained an active studio of some 40-50 employees, their primary work coming from the major magazines in the city. In the 1960s, he was founder and chair of the first fashion degree program in the United States at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. In the 1970s through the mid-1980s, he was a coordinator of the photography studies program at California Polytechnic State University, and remains connected with them as Professor Emeritus.
Since his move to Nashville, he has been actively engaged in organizing the various parts of his photography—from the classic fashion photography of the 1950s, studies of the body, and the documentary style photography of urban lives in NYC to compelling landscapes and the innovative Transfiguration series, created and printed beginning in the 1960s.
Lerner’s photography has been shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, among others. MOMA added selections from his Transfiguration series to their photography collection, as did The Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
His photographs have been published in numerous publications, including Color Magazine, Black and White Magazine, Popular Photography, US Camera, Look, New York Times Magazine, GQ, Glamour, Men's Wear, Photographer's Forum, Boy's Life, 35mm Color, Camera, and Darkroom; it has been highlighted on The Today Show, and Casey Allen's WNDT show, "In Focus."