Beginning November 10th, 2018 a special exhibit will be on display at the Laurence Miller Gallery. The exhibit will feature vintage prints taken by Helen Levitt, American street photographer who was a contemporary of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans. Levitt’s images pay tribute to a different time in her hometown of Brooklyn, though that’s not the only place she did street photography. It will also show how street photography can be both art and the preservation of history.
Here are some further details from the gallery:
“Laurence Miller Gallery is pleased to present “Helen Levitt: Five Decades,” featuring vintage prints gifted by Levitt to James Agee and his family between 1940 and ca. 2000. These include several of Levitt’s most famous New York images, pictures from Mexico City, and never before exhibited portraits of James Agee.
“James Agee was an early collaborator with Levitt, and in 1946 he authored an essay on her photographs that served as the introduction to her book “A Way of Seeing.” He wrote “At least a dozen of Helen Levitt’s photographs seem to me as beautiful, perceptive, satisfying, and enduring as any lyrical work I know.” Agee also provided individual comments on many of the images in the book, which will be displayed with the corresponding images in the show.”
Levitt and Agee also collaborated to put together a short documentary film called “In the Street” that captured life on the streets in NYC in the 40s, which will also be playing at the exhibit. The opening words of the film will no doubt speak to street photographers everywhere in the world:
“The streets of the poor quarters of the great cities are above all, a theater and a battleground.
“There, unaware and unnoticed, every human being is a poet, a masker, a warrior, a dancer: and in his innocent artistry he projects, against the turmoil of the street, an image of human existance.
“The attempt in this short film is to capture that image.”
Here are the where’s and when’s for “Helen Levitt: Five Decades”:
When: November 10 – December 22, 2018
Where: The Laurence Miller Gallery, 521 West 26th Street, 5th floor, New York City
If you can’t make it to the gallery, you can see “In the Street” on YouTube:
You can also view many of Levitt’s images on the International Center for Photography website by clicking here.
Many of Helen Levitt’s books are also available for purchase on Amazon.com.