A new collection of work by Saul Leiter reveals his enduring influence

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Spanning the artist’s lengthy career, the book includes 247 works, as well as diaristic excerpts that provide an insight into his life, character and uncomplicated approach to documenting the city

“Photographs are often treated as capturing important moments, but they are really small fragments and memories of the world that never ends.” So said American photographer and painter Saul Leiter (1923-2013). His work remained relatively unsung until the 1980s. However, his early work from the mid-1900s contributed to what came to be recognised as the New York school of photography, placing him alongside practitioners including Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Robert Frank and Weegee.

Leiter’s studio in New York’s East Village, where he lived from 1953 until he died in 2013, is now home to his eponymous foundation. Following his death, the foundation initiated a survey of the archive, which comprises more than 80,000 works, including colour and black-and-white photography, paintings, and notes.

Now, a selection of 247 previously-unseen works discovered in this process is published in a new book, titled Forever Saul Leiter. The publication spans the artist’s lengthy career, exploring his influences and muses, and includes diaristic excerpts providing insight into his life, character and uncomplicated approach to documenting the city.

“I go out with my camera, and I take pictures because I enjoy catching certain moments,” he wrote. Whether rain, fog or snow, from busy streets to empty roads, Leiter found fragments of life worth recording in the seemingly mundane.

Marigold Warner

Online Editor

Marigold Warner joined the British Journal Photography in April 2018, and currently holds the position of Online Editor. She studied English Literature and History of Art at the University of Leeds, followed by an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London. Her work has been published by titles including the Telegraph Magazine, Huck, Gal-dem, Disegno, and the Architects Journal.