Sol Libsohn was born in New York and began photographing when a neighbor gave him a Kodak Brownie camera. After attending City College, he went to work for the Works Progress Administration as an artist's model for muralists, but he was soon drafted to record images of New Yorkers coping with hard times. In 1936 his experiences in the W.P.A. led him and others to form the Photo League.
During World War II Libsohn joined a team of photographers at Standard Oil Company of New Jersey on a documentary project, "There is a drop of oil in the life of everyone." He also made "The Trucking Story," a series documenting truckers on their cross-country runs, as well as a series on life in the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Beginning in the 1950s Libsohn's work appeared in numerous periodicals and was included in several important exhibitions including the Museum of Modern Art's The Family of Man. He taught photography at Princeton University.