Saul Leiter

blogEntryTopperRecently BBC 4 TV aired Thomas Leach's documentary In No Great Hurry - 13 Lessons in Life with Saul Leiter but I failed to see it, only becoming aware of it's showing the following day.

In No Great Hurry - 13 Lessons in Life with Saul Leiter TRAILER from Tomas Leach on Vimeo.

The same can be said of his 'little book' as he calls it Saul Leiter Early Color as it had already sold out by the time I went to order it. I subsequently ordered 'Saul Leiter' published by Steidl in 2008, a catalogue published on the occasion of his exhibition at the Foundation Henri Cartier Bression in Paris. I believe it is currently sold out but if you come across it, it really is a little gem.


Comprising of early black and white as well as colour work, what immediately struck me was the high number of vertical compositions and for a 'street photographer' that is fairly unique.



It is good to have the black and white work alongside the colour, which he has become famous for, as it shows the transition in approach and where colour brought him visually. Using out of date Kodachrome (?) and film for it's slightly unreal rendering of colour allowed his painterly sensibilities to flourish.



What I love about Leiter’s work is that is is based on a living experience, on perception as opposed to conception. He uses a natural strength of photography, namely optics, and it's ability to manipulate the rendition of space. He also accepts and uses the photographic colour of out of date film.



The book has an understated elegance. Beautifully printed on slightly creamy white paper stock, which gives a warm and quiet base for the images. The overall design serves the work and, with excellent binding, it's a pleasure to handle.


I hope that a second printing of this book will be published in the future. It deserves a place on photographers bookshelves. In the meantime Early Color is out in a new edition but already seems to be in short supply.

For more information on Saul Leiter check this out.
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