SAUL LEITER

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The Pursuit of Beauty

Back in the 40s and 50s color photography was an unexplored ground, where few photographers had started to prove themselves out. Among them, Saul Leiter can be undoubtedly considered the milestone. At that time color image was considered to be purely commercial and was mainly used for advertising and fashion, while unpopular in the other fields of photography: artist, for example, didn’t take the use of color films into much consideration, least of all for shooting urban life. Leiter, on the contrary, used to roam the streets of New York and to invent art in the most unusual perspectives. The subjects of his images are not visible at first sight and keep being enigmatic further on. The visual stratification, being apparently an obstacle between our eye and the subject, constitutes in itself and in its chaotic assimilation the line and the rhyme of Leiter’s artistic expression. After Leiter work’s rediscovery, several critics pointed out that the history of photography should be rewritten, since so far we missed a fundamental link in the evolutionary chain of photographic language.

All images © Saul Leiter/Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York

FACT SHEET  
number of works 88 black and white and color photographs
print sizes                various sizes, from 12,7x17,8 cm to 27,9x35,6 cm
frames       40x50 cm
curator Enrica Viganò
in collaboration with Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York Jewish Historical Museum, New York