Helen Levitt

Helen Levitt ( August 31, 1913 in Brooklyn, New York City; † March 29, 2009 ibid ) was an American photographer and filmmaker. She was one of the most important representatives of the New York Street Photography. Their favorite subjects were children playing in the street, and everyday life in the streets of the poorer neighborhoods.

Life and work

Helen Levitt grew up in Brooklyn, where she began working for a portrait photographer, even after their schooling by 1931. In 1935 she met thus on Henri Cartier-Bresson, bought spontaneously own Leica and made ​​her first recordings road. In 1938 she met Walker Evans and became his assistant. From 1941 on, after a trip to Mexico, she worked as a film editor with Luis Buñuel.

After the Second World War, she began to work with James Agee on her first book project. It was not published until twenty years later under the title A Way of Seeing, as Helen Levitt now operated as a filmmaker. In collaboration with James Agee and the painter Janice Loeb documentaries in the street and The quiet one arose. The latter Best Documentary Oscar in 1948 was nominated in the category. Helen Levitt's films are regarded as the forerunner of the independent low-budget film.

In the 1950s, they went back to more of the photograph, and then she moved in scouting on the road. First she photographed exclusively in color, from about 1980 to developed parallel also black and white photographs. While she chose to start her career from a series of random snapshots of the best, they now sought their motives more targeted and more wisely on the result.

Last Helen Levitt lived in New York's Greenwich Village, where she died in 2009 at the age of 95 years at her home in her sleep.

Most important data of their career

Works (excerpt)

  • Helen Levitt ed. by Peter Weiermair. With contributions by James Agee and Peter Weiermair. Munich; New York: Prestel 1998, ISBN 3-7913-1974-4.
  • Helen Levitt. Photographs. Text of Walker Evans. Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern 2008, canvas, 168 pages, approximately 142 fig, of which approximately 86 color photographs, ISBN 978-3-7757-2169-1.
  • Helen Levitt: Slide Show: The Color Photographs of Helen Levitt. powerHouse Books, 2005, ISBN 978-1-57687-252-9.
  • Helen Levitt: Crosstown. powerHouse Books, New York 2001, ISBN 1-57687-103-7.