There is a small but perfectly formed exhibition currently running at The Photographer’s Gallery in London that everyone should go to if they have a spare 15 minutes. It only costs £3.00 to visit and it will brighten your week, I promise you. Leiter’s photographs are (mostly) of his daily walks through his home town of New York in the 40s, 50s and 60s, capturing images from cab windows, people crossing the road, couples captured in animated repose in coffee shops…all ordinary, but at the same time magically beautiful when captured by Leiter’s lens.
He is a master of composition, bringing the mundane into emotive focus though clever cropping, and his colours are divinely downbeat; blues, greys, muddy yellows and the odd dash of scarlet. He shot fashion for Harper’s Bazaar and painted too, there are lovely little examples of his paintings and sketch books. I love seeing the rough sketchbooks artists use, it connects you to their everyday. If you saw Carol (rather dull in my view, but v attractively shot), then you’ll see how he influenced the film’s cinematographer Ed Lachman.
So go if you can. For those that can’t, the small but comprehensive book to accompany the exhibition is all you need, it has most of the images and very little writing, which is my ideal art book really. As it’s only A5 in size, you can put it in your bag and gaze at it while on the tube/bus/train, much more rewarding than scrolling through Instagram.
Buy here Saul Leiter