Last weekend I happened to be back down in London and decided to take a look at the new exhibition on Saul Leiter at the Photographer's Gallery. I initially heard about it via the blog That's Not My Age - one of my absolute favourites - and she described Saul Leiter's work as being one of the main inspirations behind the cinematography of the film Carol. Of course, I was sold! I loved the muted colours found in Carol, the coral lipstick and camels coats, and was intrigued by this photographer that I had never heard of.
Although Leiter moved to New York in the 1940s intent on becoming a painter, his fascination with colour led him to explore the possibilities of colour photography using Kodachrome film. His photographs still retain a painterly quality – I love the shot of a young woman in a pea green coat (below) - and he even experimented with using paint on actual photographs.
He began to take on commissions for fashion photography, and many of his images can be found within the pages of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. One of my favourite images is of two young sisters looking out a window both wearing matching jumpers, one holding a cat (see below). I love their expressions and how he captured that sense of boredom and a sisterly relationship – all in the context of a fashion shoot – something that seems so rare nowadays.
The exhibition is brilliantly put together and is littered with quotes from the man himself. One of my favourites is "It is not where it is or what it is that matters, but how you see it." His snapshots of New York; of train carriages, fire escapes, and through shop windows capture the city perfectly. I love this quote in that it is applicable to writing, photography, art, whatever it is you do – use what is there in front of you.
What great inspiration for a rainy winter’s day!