Engineers, researchers, and students who are familiar with image processing or compression has most likely used the picture of "Lenna" or "Lena" in their experiments or project assignments, as the Lenna picture is one of the most widely used standard test images. Today, the use of Lenna image has been recognized as one of the most important events in the history of electronic imaging. However, very few people have seen the original picture and know the complete story of Lenna. Here is the materials about Lenna I have recently found on the Internet, which includes the recent picture of Lenna in May 1997.
From the comp.compression FAQ, we can find that "Lenna" or "Lena" is a digitized Playboy centerfold, from November 1972. Lenna is the spelling in Playboy, Lena is the Swedish spelling of her name. (In English, Lena is sometimes spelled Lenna, to encourage proper pronounciation.) Lena Soderberg (ne Sjooblom) was last reported living in her native Sweden, happily married with three kids and a job with the state liquor monopoly. In 1988, she was interviewed by some Swedish computer related publication, and she was pleasantly amused by what had happened to her picture. That was the first she knew of the use of that picture in the computer business.
In the Playboy and Wired News, we know that in the early Seventies Lenna's Playboy centerfold was scanned in by an unknown researcher at the University of Southern California to use as a test image for digital image compression research. Since that time, images of the Playmate have been used as the industry standard for testing ways in which pictures can be manipulated and transmitted electronically. Over the past 25 years, no image has been more important in the history of imaging and electronic communications, and today the mysterious Lenna is considered the First Lady of the Internet.