Saul Leiter (b. 1923) started shooting street photography in New York in the 1940s. He had no formal training in photography, but the genius of his early work was quickly acknowledged by Edward Steichen. Who included Leiter in two important MoMA shows in the 1950s. MoMA’s 1957 conference “Experimental Photography in Color” featured 20 color photographs by Leiter.
After that, however, Leiter’s personal color photography was not shared with the public. He became better known as a successful fashion photographer in the 50s and 60s. All the while, Leiter continued to stroll the streets wherever he was. Therefore making photographs for his own pleasure. He printed some of his black-and-white street photos. However, he kept most of his colour slides tucked away in boxes. It was only in the 1990s that he began to look back at that remarkable colour work and start to make prints. His sense of colour and densely compressed urban life represents a truly unique vision of those times.
“I started out as a fashion photographer. One cannot say that I was successful but there was enough work. I collaborated with Harper’s Bazaar and other magazines. I had work and I made a living. At the same time, I took my own photographs.”