New York, circa 1940
© Helen Levitt
It was just a few days ago that I sat down with a copy of Helen Levitt’s latest monograph. Turning the pages, it was as if I were seeing all of the photographs all for the first time. Few photographers, I remember thinking to myself, are able bring such poetic moments to a hault or so lovingly capture their subjects in the way that Levitt seems to do with ease. Levitt trained with Henri Cartier-Bresson and worked alongside Walker Evans, but her photographs have taken on their own quiet legacy, both for me personally and for many admirers in the photography community.
James Agee once said of Levitt’s photographs that they are “as beautiful, perceptive, satisfying, and enduring as any lyrical work that I know… [her photographs] combine into a unified view of the world, an uninsistent but irrefutable manifesto of a way of seeing, and in a gently and wholly unpretentious way, a major poetic work.”
It was with much sadness that I heard the news of Levitt’s death yesterday. I hoped some day to have a chance to meet her and thank her for her work, but I am glad to know that she passed away peacefully in her sleep.
Read the New York Times story here.