Teju Cole on Saul Leiter

Contemporary writer Teju Cole reflects on the striking use of form and colour in the work of twentieth-century American photographer
Saul Leiter, 'Foot on El' (1954)
Saul Leiter, ‘Foot on El’ (1954)
L

eiter was perhaps the most interesting of the fifties color photographers in his use of form. His bold chromaticism, off-center composition, and frequent use of vertical framing attracted attention—the work reminded people of Japanese painting and Abstract Expressionism—and he was included in “Always the Young Strangers,” an exhibition curated by Edward Steichen at the Museum of Modern Art in 1953. But Leiter didn’t court fame, and though he continued to work, his photographs almost vanished from public view. Then they came back to light in 2006, with “Saul Leiter: Early Color,” a monograph published by Steidl. The book brought him belated recognition, gallery representation, a stream of publications, and a new generation of fans. [Read More]

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