Saul Leiter was the ignored artist of American photographic history. While his career spanned a time when quintessential New York street photography was defined as swift, sharp and precise, Leiter’s leisured, impressionist style went against the grain. Leiter was a pioneer of color photography, adventurously using Kodachrome color film 2 decades before the William Eggleston and Joel Meyerowitz.
Saul Leiter (December 3, 1923 – November 26, 2013) was an American photographer and painter whose early work in the 1940s and 1950s was an important contribution to what came to be recognized as the New York school of photography. His work is in the collections of many prestigious public and private collections.Original article
Seeing is a neglected enterprise.
Max Kozloff said to me one day, ‘You’re not really a photographer. You do photography, but you do it for your own purposes – your purposes are not the same as others’. I’m not quite sure what he meant, but I like that. I like the way he put it.
If I’d only known which [photographs] would be very good and liked, I wouldn’t have had to do all the thousands of others.
When we do not know why the photographer has taken a picture and when we do not know why we are looking at it, all of a sudden we discover something that we start seeing. I like this confusion.
I spent a great deal of my life being ignored. I was always very happy that way. Being ignored is a great privilege. That is how I think I learned to see what others do not see and to react to situations differently. I simply looked at the world, not really prepared for anything.
I go out to take a walk, I see something, I take a picture. I take photographs. I have avoided profound explanations of what I do.
I leave these speculations to others. It’s quite possible that my work represents a search for beauty in the most prosaic and ordinary places. One doesn’t have to be in some faraway dreamland in order to find beauty.
There are the things that are out in the open and then there are the things that are hidden, and the real world has more to do with what is hidden, maybe.
Some photographers think that by taking pictures of human misery, they are addressing a serious problem. I do not think that misery is more profound than happiness.
I don’t have a philosophy. I have a camera. I look into the camera and take pictures. My photographs are the tiniest part of what I see that could be photographed. They are fragments of endless possibilities.
Photography allows you to learn to look and see. You begin to see things you'd never paid attention to.
A window covered with raindrops interests me more than a photograph of a famous person.