Saul Leiter at Photographers’ Gallery
Upon entering the exhibition and seeing the first few photographs on the wall I had already decided I was buying the book. By the time I left, I was giving up everything, selling all my possessions to buy a Leica camera and become a full time street photographer!
Such flashes of “all or nothing” enthusiasm are something that my family and friends have all learnt to deal with in their different ways over the years. On this occasion though, I settled for two Saul Leiter books and a cup of coffee (cake too, of course!).
Leiter was one of the earliest pioneers of colour photography, best known for his success as a fashion photographer. For around thirty years (1950s-1980s) his photos would appear in magazines such as Elle and Esquire. His street photography however has only recently started getting the recognition it deserves.
I too, was unaware of Leiter’s extraordinary street photography work, until I watched the stunning DVD In No Great Hurry, 13 Lessons in Life with Saul Leiter. His unique and experimental vision revealed in this short film meant I was an instant convert. His quirky personality that comes across in the footage only added to the intrigue and desire to learn more about him. So when I heard there was going to be a Saul Leiter retrospective at the Photographers Gallery I made sure I could be there for it!
This is the cue where I’m meant to expand on the exhibition, where I talk about the “eclectic” this and the “juxtaposition” of that, but I’m going to be really honest here. I started this review on the train to Leeds from London back in March this year. Since then I haven’t had a chance to finish it and the exhibition itself has long been and gone! So instead of raving on about an exhibition you can no longer see, let me simply urge you to explore this under-celebrated photographer further. And if you haven’t visited the Photographers’ Gallery before, you should. It’s a great place, which in addition to regularly changing exhibitions has a whole bunch of fab stuff to offer. Such enticements include an enchanting bookshop, fantastic education programme, invaluable resources, superb cake (and coffee) as well as the opportunity of running into some like-minded folk!
That’s it for now, please stay tuned for more out of date reviews and expired news coming soon!
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