Are you a fan of the 2015 film Carol starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara? If so, do you remember the beautiful cinematography – the saturated primary colours, the cold landscapes and the deep light? Every shot looked like a painstakingly detailed painting.
Carol’s cinematography bears an uncanny resemblance to Saul Leiter’s photographs. Leiter’s photographs are rich and ready to be unpacked – they need to be looked at, looked at again and closely dissected. They appear to be staged but they are, in fact, snapshots of real life. Like Carol, many of Leiter’s photographs are from the 1950s.
Leiter was a Jewish American photographer who received his first camera at age 12. He abandoned his aspirations to become a Rabbi and moved to New York to become a painter. Here, he met the Abstract Expressionist painter, Richard Pousette-Dart. Pousette-Dart and (renowned photojournalist) W. Eugene Smith encouraged Leiter to take photographs. In 1948, he started taking colour photographs. He belonged the New York School of Photography of the 1940s-1950s.