Saul Leiter

Sunday, March 19th 2023

Saul Leiter was an American photographer and painter, born on December 3, 1923, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and died on November 26, 2013, in New York City. He is known for his pioneering work in color photography, particularly his early use of color in street photography during the 1940s and 1950s, which helped establish color photography as a legitimate art form.

Leiter started out as a painter, but he was drawn to photography and began experimenting with color photography in the 1940s, well before it was widely accepted as an art form. He worked primarily in New York City, capturing the energy and diversity of the city's streets, but also took photographs in other cities such as Paris and Venice.

Leiter's work is characterized by a poetic, almost dreamlike quality, with abstracted forms and unexpected juxtapositions. He often used reflections, shadows, and blurred edges to create a sense of atmosphere and ambiguity in his images. His photographs were innovative in their use of color, with Leiter using color as a compositional element rather than simply as a way of reproducing reality.

Leiter's most important work includes his series of street photographs taken in New York City during the 1940s and 1950s, particularly his book "Early Color," which was published in 2008 and features his early color work. Other notable series include his portraits of women, nudes, and his later work in black and white.

Leiter's work has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, and his photographs are held in the collections of major institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. His legacy has influenced many contemporary photographers, particularly in the use of color and in the blending of photography with other art forms.