Saul Leiter Exhibition
Saul Leiter Exhibition At The Photographers Gallery – 22 Jan – 3 Apr 2016
Thanks to The Photographers Gallery, I had the chance to see Saul Leiters (1923-2013) work, up close and personal. For many years I have admired Saul Leiters work and his easily recognisable style, a quality, which is hard to achieve in photography. For me there are many components to Saul Leiters unique approach and as I took in the exhibited work I wrote a few down a few points that jumped out at me;
- Creating frames within a frame, for instance window and doors creating another layer to the image
- Multi exposure effect by photographing carefully constructed reflections
- Use of props such as umbrellas, canapés and other objects to create a foreground mask and concentrating the viewers attention on a smaller area
- Incorporation street signs, wording, graffiti and painted windows to compose his images
- Focusing on a near object to soften the main subject in the background
- Finally being patient
An interview with one of the curators, Brigitte Woischnik through up some very interesting points, for instance the possible fact that Saul Leiter was one of the first photographers to embrace colour photography back in 1947. Painting was Saul’s first love and the exhibits do shed some light on how his mind works. For instance he painted colour on top of black and white photographs, which has a similarity to the way he created complex layers in his photographs, both need a thought process allowing what you can and cannot see in an image.
This exhibition does not just show Leiters cleverly composed street shots of New York, but the stylish and enchanting fashion shots he took for Harpers Bazaar and Vogue. These shots are stunning and they still seem ahead of there time compared with some of the current fashion photography.
Saul Leiter made many a great quote regarding photography and to close with I will quote a favourite of mine:
“It is not where it is or what it is that matters, but how you see it”