The son of a rabbi and fine Talmudist, Saul Leiter studied to become a rabbi himself but soon left Pittsburg to settle in New York once he felt the rabbinate was not his calling. Instead he wanted to be a painter.
After visiting a photography exhibition, Leiter took an interest in this form of art and purchased a Leica. Although he never quite gave up painting, he earned a living as a fashion photographer.
Leiter soon experimented with color photos, unlike most artisitic photographers of the time for whom colors was associated with magazines and adverts. He favored street scenes making them works of art through his unique play with angles, light, filters, reflections and colors of course.
I only knew his photos through a book I own, Early Color, but was lucky enough to visit an exhibition in a French town in Burgundy this weekend. It was well worth the visit. I was particularly amazed at the way Leiter highlights one or several colorful detail(s) in an ordinary background thus forcing us to reconsider the way we look at everyday scenes.
For a glimpse into Saul Leiter’s works click here.