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Let me introduce you ... to Saul Leiter ...

I've used images of Saul's, in talks, to illustrate 'compression' in a street photograph. In particular, the wonderful pictures he took of New York in the snow in the fifties.

The use of a zoom can make the background seem much closer to the subject than it really is, it can help to give a 'city' feel to an image, it enhances the clutter, the bustle. Used in the right way, it can make a photograph more emotive, it can lift it from the realms of being merely descriptive.

But Saul Leiter isn't just a one trick pony. He was an absolute past master of ignoring convention and advice. His compositions can be astounding, they often ignore everything we are told about what makes a photograph 'good' and yet they work. He was friends with a lot of the movers and shakers in both the photography and the art world (he was also an accomplished painter) but would routinely ignore sound career advice and eschewed the limelight.

There is an exhibition at the MK Gallery in Milton Keynes (ended at the beginning of June so you haven't got long). It's not chronological, it's not themed, it mixes his more well known colour works with B&W and paintings.. You are just wandering through a collection of things that caught his eye. A lot of the images are small, inviting you to get close and study them. The walls were peppered with images I already knew, it was a joy to get close to some of the 'Greatest Hits' ... there is a room showing the film 'In no Great Hurry, 13 Lessons in Life with Saul Leiter' at the end of the exhibition, there is an excellent selection of books about Saul's work in the gift shop ... my only disappointment was that the two posters of the exhibition had sold out. There are more coming but there's no online shop ... so if you go (and you really should), please pick me one up ...

Here's a write up about the exhibition in the Guardian ... and here is some more info and examples of his work over on Artnet ...

As an added bonus ... I quite liked the floor ...


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