Saul Leiter brought New York City to life – not everybody can do that in a still image.
The lurking Manhattanite is best remembered for his vivid colour photographs taken on the streets of America’s greatest metropolis in the 1950s and 1960s; often taken at his leisure, other times as a fashion snapper for Harper’s Bazaar magazine.
His artistic output continued through to his death in 2013 and was much broader than popularly remembered. Far from being strictly a sidewalk stalker, Leiter was at ease in a photography studio and was also an avid painter – though he never did stray far from his Lower East Side apartment.
Much of his work was little known during his life – not least the wealth of mid-century nude photographs which came to light in 2018 – owing partly to mid-career financial difficulties which knocked him off the radar of the art world.
Leiter is now recognised as one of history’s great photographers – and his life and work are the subject of a comprehensive retrospective book published by Thames & Hudson to mark the centenary of his birth.
Alongside his better-known shots readers will find many of Leiter’s previously unpublished gems, in an opportunity to get the whole picture of a hitherto shrouded career.
‘Saul Leiter: The Centennial Retrospective’ is available from Thames & Hudson here.