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Posts Tagged ‘Guest photographer—Helen Levitt’

Girl Lifts Boy

Girl Lifts Boy  ( 1st and 3rd images courtesy Mina Son)

New York City

New York City  (Internet photo)

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Levitt with James Agee

Levitt’s most important book

By Paul Goldfinger  (re-posted from 2013 on Blogfinger)   We have featured a group of important female photographers.

Those of you who follow photography on Blogfinger know that I am a big fan of black and white  street photography.   Some of the finest  photographers in that genre were active in the 1930’s through the 1950’s in New York City and Paris.  Among the best are Walker Evans, Eugene Atget, Andre Kertesz, Lee Friedlander and our guest photographer Helen Levitt, who was one of the pioneers.

Helen Levitt (1913-2009) photographed on the streets of New York City for over 70 years, both in black and white and color.  She worked with Walker Evans in the 1930’s, and her work was shown at the first photo exhibit held at MOMA in 1939.  She was an innovator in the street photography genre.

A documentary film maker named Tanya Sleiman has made a film, “95 Lives,” about Helen Levitt, and we heard about it from Mina Son, the producer, in November. Mina was kind enough to send us two photographs for our blog post and also a link to a very fine short film made by Tanya.  I think you will enjoy it, as she tells us about her project. It is a unique treat for our blog.  Thank you  Tanya and Mina.  The fund raising drive mentioned was completed in December 2012.

According to Mina Son, “95 Lives seeks to change the reality that Helen Levitt is a major female artist of the 20th century, someone who innovated in photography and film, yet is virtually unknown outside of elite art circles. This is why we are making this film.”

“Through Helen Levitt’s lens, we have found magic and visual poetry in our everyday lives. In helping her legacy live on, we hope her work inspires countless more generations of photographers to introduce the work and life of Helen Levitt to audiences all over.”

Helen Levitt short

SOUNDTRACK:  I guess the thing that has fascinated me about photography, ever since childhood, is the magic—-the freezing of a moment.  It is a way to capture that moment and preserve it.  Wouldn’t it have been great if photography had been invented one century sooner?  We could see Washington crossing the Delaware or Napoleon at Waterloo.

Or, in our own lives, we can see how life was over 50 years ago, as in these images by Helen Levitt where ordinary street scenes back then now become extraordinary.  This song matches up with these photos.

Jerry Orbach from the Fantasticks:

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