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Saul Leiter (German) Hardcover – August 21, 2012
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About the Author
Ingo Taubhorn is photographer and since 2006 curator at the House of Photography at Museum Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Germany.
Saul Leiter (born 1923 in Pittsburg, PA) is an American photographer and painter whose early work in the 1940s and 1950s was an important contribution to what came to be recognized as The New York School of photographers.
Vince Aletti (born 1945) is an American music journalist and photography critic. He was the art editor of the Village Voice from 1994 to 2005 and the paper’s photo critic for twenty years. Today he reviews photography exhibitions for The New Yorker’s "Goings on About Town" section.
Adam Harrison Levy is a writer and freelance documentary film producer and director. For the past 15 years, he has worked on a wide range of historical and arts films, primarily for the BBC. He teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York.
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Saul Leiter is one of my favorite photographers of the modern era and this book offers a great insight into the man as an artist, with his unique photographic compositions and lovely use of bold color, both photographically and in his paintings. The images are well presented for the most part, with reasonable quality for a book of this sort. There are some painting images inserted as smaller pieces in the middle of the book, which are interesting, but a bit close too the binding for my taste.
One of the most interesting articles is the one by Margit Erb, who I believe may have known him better than many, having spent several years with Saul, organizing and cataloging his body of work. If you've seen any of the documentary film "In No Great Hurry" or any of the other videos of Saul, you've seen that his fondness for Margit was mutual. Her story adds further to the understanding of Saul as an artist, a man of great intellectual curiosity and knowledge of the visual arts. He will be missed, but his work can be celebrated by owning books such as this one. Very Highly recommended.
This catalogue raisonnee from Kehrer is a beautiful & thoroughgoing book. Reproduction is excellent & most images are printed here larger than elsewhere. The book treats of his whole ouevre, not just photography, & while some of the paintings stand up right next to New York contemporaries like Rothko, Still, & Newman, and the essays are good reads & informative, I wish there were more space given to camera art. It is of interest, as you become familiar with Leiter's style & approach to picture-taking, to examine his magazine work, especially the Harper's Bazaar covers. They show a very strong affinity with his private work, & though he was never as successful as Avedon (not by half, or even half of half), I think I see a Leiter influence on later cover photography in fashion magazines. Lastly, while advertised as a bi-lingual edition, nearly half of the texts are in German only. I have found no translations available anywhere. A minor quibble for such a fine photobook, but be aware of this. One other minor quibble, about the production: very nice full cloth binding & in place of a dust jacket is a cardstock sleeve. The sleeve is open at both ends & can slide around (or off) & is easily creased or torn. It was intended, I think, as an inexpensive type of slip-case, but it is the weakest point of an otherwise superior book, inside or out.
Highly recommended without reservation to anyone with an interest in "fine-art photography" (whatever that is), [early] color photography, history of photography, New York in the 40's through 60's (though there's work here from as late as 2011), abstract expressionism, neglected masters; oh, just get the book! Saul died two days before Thanksgiving 2013 just as his documentary profile ("In No Great Hurry") debuted in NY. This eponymous book is out of stock everywhere, as are ALL the other titles. Grab it when Kehrer inevitably re-prints it sometime early in 2014. There are other worthy Leiter books, but if you have just one, this should be it. Though interest in Saul is high now (with his death, film debut, and several NYT and magazine articles published in the last 6 weeks), the next printing will almost certainly be the last (as is the fate of most photobooks). New collections may follow, but posthumous edits are never as desirable, are they? So get it, how you can, when you can.
There are only two downsides in my opinion - first, I was expecting this book to have more art and less text, and second, the section on Saul's paintings written by Carrie Springer came across as very "high art" and largely mumbo-jumbo, something Saul himself seemed averse to. Otherwise, it's a very enjoyable read that I devoured in one sitting.