From shots of folk clutching umbrellas in the snow to glanced images of a man in a barber’s shop, passing cars or a pouncing cat, American photographer Saul Leiter had a way of capturing life in the Big Apple, both in moody black-and-white and atmospheric colour. Recently rediscovered, this iconic talent’s work is on show in Japan for the first time at Tokyo’s Bunkamura museum.
Leiter (1923-2013), who moved to New York in the 1940s, started out with ambitions to be an artist. Luckily, he caught an exhibition by seminal French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson in 1947, bought a Leica camera and started taking street shots instead. He became a leading fashion photographer from the 50s until the 80s, shooting for Elle and Vogue, before retiring from view.
Luckily, Leiter was returned to the limelight when a collection of his pictures was published by Germany’s Steidl Verlag in 2006. In 2012, documentary film In No Great Hurry: 13 Lessons in Life with Saul Leiter brought his work to a wider audience, with a new generation falling for his neon-drenched images of kissing couples and men in raincoats.
Bunkamura’s extensive Photographer Saul Leiter: A Retrospective is a collaboration with the Saul Leiter Foundation, bringing together around 200 works including Leiter’s monochrome and colour photos, paintings and archive materials, alongside a programme of New York-themed films at the complex’s cinema. Snap it up!
29 Apr – 25 Jun, 2017.
Bunkamura The Museum / B1F / 2-24-1 Dogenzaka / Shibuya-ku / +81 3 3477 9111 / 10am-6pm Sun-Thu, until 9pm Fri-Sat / bunkamura.co.jp