Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Helen Levitt – photographer

Helen Levitt (1913-2009)

One of the most important figures in contemporary photography is the New Yorker Helen Levitt. For over 60 years her quiet, poetic photographs made on the streets of the city she has inhabited for most of her life have inspired and amazed generations of photographers, students, collectors, curators, and lovers of art in general. Throughout her long career, Helen Levitt’s photographs have consistently reflected her poetic vision, humor, and inventiveness as much as they have honestly portrayed her subjects—men, women, and children living it out on the streets and among the tenements of New York.

Born in In 1945-46 she shot and edited the film In the Street with Janice Loeb and James Agee, providing a moving portrait of her still photography. Levitt’s first major museum exhibition was at the Museum of Modern Art in 1943, and a second solo show, of color work only, was held there in 1974. Major retrospectives of her work have been held at several museums: first in 1991, jointly at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; in 1997 at the International Center for Photography in New York; and in 2001 at the Centre National la Photographie in Parisn”> Paris.

More recently, Helen Levitt has been featured in three international shows: in 2007, “Helen Levitt: Un Art de l’accident poetique” at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris; in 2008, the Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Germany chose Ms. Levitt as the recipient for the Spectrum International Photography Prize which was accompanied by a major retrospective; and FOAM Museum Amsterdam, mounted another major retrospective in October, 2008. She is a 2008 recipient of the Francis Greenburger award for excellence in the arts.









Further reading and pictures here




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