Sunday, September 29, 2013

Helen Levitt

Helen Levitt
American photographer 1913-2009

Her black and white photographs from the early 1940's describes the streets of New York City. Her pictures features children playing, seniors gossiping and everyday errands. She didn't intend her street photography to be documentary but to capture the energy and interactions of people.
Helen Levitt's capacity to take pictures of people so close up without them noticing or posing for the picture is key to the quality and energy of her work . The protagonists don't notice her and don't change their behavior around her. She must have gained their approval or saw her as a local, not someone there to document or analyse their lifestyle but one of them.
The work I find the most powerful is her portraits of children playing with what they can find in their local streets of New York City. She captures the kids' innocence and happiness. Her work is powerful, objective and poetic. The composition of patterns, colour, people's bodies make her work recognisable from any other streetscape photographers.

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