Oh Saul, what can I say that could possibly do justice to the soaring talent you had with a camera, a roll of film and your unique eye…
My number one all time favourite photographer of all time ever in the world ever ever.
Saul Leiter was an American photographer and painter whose early work in the 1940s and 1950s was an important contribution to what came to be recognised as the New York school of photography.
Art critic Roberta Smith wrote in 2005: “Mr. Leiter was a photographer less of people than of perception itself. His painter’s instincts served him well in his emphasis on surface, spatial ambiguity and a lush, carefully calibrated palette. But the abstract allure of his work doesn’t rely on soft focus, a persistent, often irritating photographic ploy, or the stark isolation of details, in the manner of Aaron Siskind or early Harry Callahan. Instead, Mr. Leiter captured the passing illusions of everyday life with a precision that might almost seem scientific, if it weren’t so poetically resonant and visually layered.”
“Poetically resonant” That about sums his work up for me, both graphical and painterly, he could be Rothko and Neville Brody all in one image, capturing with an apparent ease the subtle nuances of a street scene while turning the reality of what was in front of him on its head. Each image grabs you with an immediacy that still feels fresh today with often bold simple colours and brave expanses of solids that draw you in to explore the complexity of life played out in a single frame.