I’m starting a new series called Study the Masters. Short and sweet, it’s my chance to put you on to photographers from the past that have made our art what it is. Hands down, the best photographic education, once you know how to use a camera, is to study the work of others. This is my way of suggesting who some of those others might be.
This week it’s Saul Leiter (1923-2013), a New York photographer who left us this past November. Saul was an eccentric artist who photographed and painted in the same neighborhoods in New York all his life. I love Saul’s use of colour and negative space, especially his selective focus, and his use of reflections is wonderful. I could look at his work for hours.
“I admired a tremendous number of photographers, but for some reason I arrived at a point of view of my own.”
“If I’d only known which [photographs] would be very good and liked, I wouldn’t have had to do all the thousands of others.”
You can see some of his work immediately with a simple Google Image search.
There’s a movie about Saul, a documentary made in the last couple years of his life, coming out just now called In No Great Hurry, and if you get a chance to see it you should.
I highly recommend this book about Saul Leiter and his work. It’s on my coffee table right now and it’s one of the best photography books I’ve bought in a while. Saul Leiter, by Vince Aletti. (Amazon link). If you can get it, or have the budget, a copy of Saul’s Early Colour, would be a treasure. Hard to find.
“Seeing is a neglected enterprise.”