Friday, 22 January 2016

Saul Leiter - The Photographers' Gallery

Saul Leiter, Phone Call, c1957
Saul Leiter is at The Photographers' Gallery until 3 April 2016.
It is a curiosity of the history of photography that 'serious' photography came so late to colour that the myth of its 'invention' by William Eggleston in 1973 prior to his 1976 exhibition at MoMA was sustained for so long. Some of his contemporaries  - William Christenberry, Stephen Shore, Joel Meyerowitz - have since been acknowledged as also exploring colour. However, Saul Leiter (1923-2013) was there before any of them. A combination of his personal modesty and the narrowness of the institutional perspective on important photography meant his glorious, painterly, abstract, colour street photographs of the 1950s, 60s and later have only recently become known - through a book, Early Color and an exhibition in 2006.
Now The Photographers' Gallery is showing a terrific retrospective of his work which reveals him as a lyrical poet of street photography.
Read a feature by Andrew Dickson, a review by Christian House and a selection of features and interviews at ASX.
Saul Leiter, Don't Walk, 1952
Saul Leiter, Sign Painter, 1954
Saul Leiter, Red Umbrella, 1955
Saul Leiter, Straw Hat, c1955
Saul Leiter, Taxi, 1956
Saul Leiter, Walking, 1956
Saul Leiter, Taxi, 1957
Saul Leiter, Window, New York, 1957
Saul Leiter, Red Umbrella, 1958
Saul Leiter, Harlem, 1960

1 comment:

  1. Don't forget Ernst Haas as a photographer who early on explored color in the abstract.

    I don't think anyone was ever serious when they said Eggleston "invented" color photography. His photography was ground-breaking for opening the doors to color photography becoming accepted as art...and for the controversy over that MOMA show.

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