Thursday, December 3, 2015

Saul Leiter [1923–2013]: Subjective Serenity

Colour Photography

Photo Credit: ©Saul Leiter, 1957

Saul Leiter: A Retrospective 
January 22–April 3, 2016
The Photographers’ Gallery, London

Saul Leiter was an early user of colour film, which he started doing sometime between 1946 and 1948. His photographs make attempts to capture a quiet moment in a storm of activity, as exemplified by the rider of a NYC taxicab above. The foreground is blurry, suggesting movement; the background clearer, suggesting serenity. This is only my impression, a sense, and not at all what it might have been really like on a busy street full of traffic in a major metropolitan city. Thus, one can say that the photo becomes more an expression of the photographer’s sensibility (and by extension, the viewer’s) than of a record of what actually took place.

Aesthetica writes: “Born into a Jewish family in Pennsylvania, USA, Leiter began his relationship with the camera very early on in life, despite originally studying to become a Rabbi. Leiter then abandoned his theological studies and moved to New York City, aged 23, to pursue his love of painting. Soon afterwards he was fortunate enough to meet noted abstract expressionist painter Richard Pousette-Dart, who encouraged Leiter to explore his talent in photography even further.

“The photographer grew to be very experimental in his work, using a variety of different focal lengths, spaces and perspectives; however he was not endeavouring to seek a form of perfection within his work. In fact he is quoted to have said: “perfection is not something I admire. A touch of confusion is a desirable ingredient”. He began using Kodachrome colour slide film as early as 1946, and was highly criticised for going against the artistic trends of the time.”

For more, go to [Aesthetica]

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