The distinctive iconography of Saul Leiter’s early black and white photographs stems from his profound response to the dynamic street life of New York City in the late 1940s and 50s. While this technique borrowed aspects from the photo-documentary, Leiter’s imagery was more shaped by his highly individual reactions to the people and places he encountered.
Like a Magic Realist with a camera, Leiter absorbed the mystery of the city and poignant human experiences. Together with Early Color, also to be re-released this season, Early Black and White shows the impressive range of Leiter’s early photography.
Saul Leiter was born in Pittsburgh in 1923, the son of a rabbi. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and in other public and private collections. With an additional essay by Jane Livingston.