Saul Leiter (1923–2013) pioneered a painterly approach to colour photography in the 1940s and produced covers for fashion magazines such as Esquire and Harper’s Bazaar before largely withdrawing from public attention in the 1980s. The publication in 2006 of his first collection, Early Color, inspired an avid ‘rediscovery’ that has since led to worldwide exhibitions and the release of a documentary, In No Great Hurry: 13 Lessons in Life with Saul Leiter (2013). This collection which has just been put together and published by Thames & Hudson reveals the secrets of his appeal, from his masterful colours and compositions to his lyricism and life philosophy.
Leiter has been described as a pioneer for a rare approach to colour in the 1940s, a period that valued monochrome photography for its deemed honesty and simplicity. “I liked colour even though many photographers looked down on colour or felt it was superficial or shallow”, Leiter explains, who had moved to New York from Pittsburgh at the age of 22 with aspirations of becoming a painter.
As well as Leiter’s early images such as these, the publication showcases over 200 works, including covers for fashion magazines, pieces for advertising, nudes and paintings. Featured throughout the pages are a number of quotations, providing a unique insight into the mind of the artist and the accompanying pictures.
Largely overlooked by his contemporaries, Leiter somewhat longed for obscurity. His pieces turn away from monumental landmarks, critical historical moments or individuals, and instead choose to focus on revealing the beauty in the everyday.
Over 200 works – including early street photographs, images for advertising, nudes and paintings – cover Leiter’s career from the 1940s onwards, accompanied by quotations from the artist that express his singular world view.
ALL ABOUT SAUL LEITER
THAMES & HUDSON
PAPERBACK WITH JACKET
296 PP, 232 ILL