Exhibit in London: Saul Leiter in The Photographers' Gallery
When in London, besides exploring the city thought the viewfinder of my camera, I like to pop into one of the numerous photo galleries for some inspiration. This time I paid a visit to The Photographers' Gallery in Soho area in central London to see a retrospective of Saul Leiter, a prolific American photographer, best known for his colour photographs of the streets of New York and an easily recognisable fluid, impressionistic style.
Saul Leiter started as a painter and soon moved towards photography, inspired by his visit to an exhibition of a classic French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. He started working in colour in 1948, often using expired rolls of Kodachrome slide film to keep the costs down, that produced warm tones in images and a peculiar dreamy look. Although taken in the urban environment, Leiter's photographs cannot be considered photojournalistic, but rather poetic subjective observations of the reality. His interest in shapes, shadows, textures, reflections, various types of blur, resulting whether from bokeh of an open aperture, or from steamy windows on a rainy day, and of course a fantastic sense and use of colour brings his work towards abstract self-expression, rather than objective representation of events. "Photographs are often treated as important moments, but really they are little fragments and souvenirs of an unfinished world," said Leiter.
Leiter took many of his colour photographs in 1950s and 60s wandering the streets of New York City. At that time, colour photography was almost exclusively used for advertising and fashion magazines, and was considered by many as "unsuitable" for artistic expression. It made its breakthrough as a legitimate medium for art galleries only in the late 1970s, after the exhibition of William Eggleston in MOMA. For this reason Saul Leiter's work and his pioneering role in colour photography did not receive its recognition until later in his life.
A quick tip: come before midday for a free entrance to the gallery's exhibitions, and bring your camera with you. I am quite sure that after visiting Saul Leiter's exhibition you will feel inspired to capture more colours in the streets of London!
Saturday, 2 April 2016
The Photographers' Gallery
16-18 Ramillies Street, W1F 7LW London
Oxford Circus tube station
Open from Monday to Saturday 10am-6pm, Thursday 10am-8pm, Sundays 11am-6pm
Free admission before noon daily, after midday 3 GBP
About the Author
Nadia is passionate about the visual aspect of life and the personalities she meets along the way. Living in the heart of Paris, Nadia never stops exploring the City of Light through her camera and readily shares her knowledge and love for photography.