"I don't have a philosophy, I have a camera." Saul Leiter

Tue, April 12
"I don't have a philosophy, I have a camera." Saul Leiter
SAUL LEITER - The Photographers' Gallery, London

SAUL LEITER - The Photographers' Gallery, London.  (By Alice)

The Photographers’ Gallery this week housed an icon of modern photography, Saul Leiter.   Lucky enough to be one of the last to visit, on a Thursday evening when the sun was miraculously still shining at 6pm, I stepped into the world of Leiter.  A world which as full of stolen moments; somehow taking you to the very spot where he stood, catching people in their silent moments, like islands in the hustle and bustle of New York.  Waiting for a bus, stuck in traffic in a bright yellow New York taxi, a foot resting on an empty train seat, these moments were taken from their everyday ubiquity and given new status by Leiters eye, and shown for what they are. 

The photos were like portals, transformative and powerful, yet still and silent.  Muted colours were shocked by the deep and powerful reds and yellows of the city; just as these quiet moments captured were juxtaposed by the bustling, swarming, teeming city. 

Leiter is himself an artist that continues to be found, after his death in 2013, his career and life which spanned nearly a century, has continued to delight people particularly after the publication of ‘Early Colour’ in 2006.

One of the most engaging moments of the exhibition was Leiter’s painted photographs.  Intimate and masterful in their application of colour and care, the cross-over between photography and painting seemed to lose it’s edge, becoming a blurred line where the photograph and the paint were completely symbiotic.  It was difficult to tell where one medium began and the other finished,

As an Australian in London, I am sometimes overwhelmed by the craziness of the city, and the fast paced nature of life here.  Seeing Leiters photographs reminded me to seek out the still moments that can happen in the city streets, and notice their beauty.