“In Leiter's view, New York is a city that doesn't know the word rest - every single person on its streets is rushing from home to work and vice versa.”
For many enthusiasts of photography, New York has always been a city of contrasting black-and-white tones and an interplay between shadow and light. Many famous photographers like André Kertész (1894-1985), Diane Arbus (1923-1971), Weegee (1899-1968) and Richard Avedon (1923-2004) captured this rough and hostile from the first site city in deep, dramatic and monogram shades. However, a photographer from Pittsburgh, United States, Saul Leiter (1923-2013) looked at New York differently. For him, it was a vivid city that gathered under its roof DiMaggio and Sinatra, but also, anonymous bums and chauffeurs. In Leiter's view, New York is a city that doesn't know the word rest - every single person on its streets is rushing from home to work and vice versa. Visually speaking, the city is a real symphony of neon greens and reds of the traffic lights, thick yellow gouache of taxis, ochre and burgundy watercolour of umbrellas and hats of the passerby.
Because Leiter was the first photographer who decided to interpret the evolution of the city in visual terms from the Bronx to Manhattan in colour without the fear of being vulgar and tasteless, with his work, he set an example of the most sophisticated street photography in the world.
Saul Leiter didn't establish himself as a photographer from a young age, first being a rabbi and after, a painter. Only in 2005, when the photographer was already 82, his early color photography has finally become the subject of a well-received exhibition at the Howard Greenberg Gallery in Manhattan.