Saul Leiter (1923–2013)

Margalit Fox reports in the New York Times that photographer Saul Leiter has passed away. Trained as a rabbi and then a painter, Leiter made a name for himself with his photographs of New York City street life. His career began to gain momentum in 1953, when Edward Steichen included some of his work in the show “Always the Young Strangers” at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Fox notes that Leiter never quite became a household name like some others involved with the New York School of photography, including Weegee and Diane Arbus, though he was featured in a solo exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum in 2006, the same year a book Saul Leiter: Early Color put forth his work, along with a forward by historian Martin Harrison. Leiter’s photographs are in the collections of the Whitney Museum in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He had a retrospective last year at the Hamburg Deichtorhallen.

Leiter often downplayed the significance of his career. “I am not immersed in self-admiration,” he said in an interview. “When I am listening to Vivaldi or Japanese music or making spaghetti at 3 in the morning and realize that I don’t have the proper sauce for it, fame is of no use.” Leiter’s photography was featured in a portfolio in this year's June issue of Artforum.