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Saul Leiter

Photographer Saul Leiter

Saul Leiter

Saul Leiter, known for his innovative and pioneering approach to photography, was born on December 3, 1923, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania .He was raised in a Jewish family and developed an early interest in the arts, particularly painting. As a young man, Leiter moved to New York City and studied painting at the Art Students League.

However, Leiter's interest in photography began to take precedence over painting. He became captivated by the medium's ability to capture and convey the essence of a moment. During his time in New York, Leiter became acquainted with fellow photographer Robert Frank, who would later become a pivotal figure in the development of documentary photography in America.

Leiter's unique style and approach to photography set him apart from his contemporaries. He embraced the use of color, at a time when black and white photography was more dominant, and incorporated elements of abstraction and experimentation into his work. Drawing inspiration from painters such as Henri Matisse and Pierre Bonnard, Leiter created photographs that were rich in color, texture, and composition. Leiter was not concerned with capturing grandiose scenes or famous landmarks.

Instead, he focused on the everyday moments and scenes that often go unnoticed. Leiter had a keen eye for urban life and would often wander the streets of New York, capturing fleeting moments of beauty in the mundane. Leiter's photographs often featured glimpses of people through windows, reflections, and abstracted views of the city. Leiter was a master of capturing the atmosphere and mood of a scene, using his unique blend of vivid colors and subtle compositions.

Leiter's work gained recognition in the 1950s and 1960s, with his images published in magazines such as Harper's Bazaar and Esquire.

During this time, Leiter also established himself as a successful fashion photographer, working for clients such as Vogue and Elle.

Leiter's unconventional approach to fashion photography was groundbreaking, as he brought a fresh perspective that emphasized the individuality and uniqueness of his subjects.


10 Lessons We Can Learn from Street Photographer Saul Leiter (2016). Available at:

BAKER, A. (2023) Reflections with Beauty: Seen Through the Camera-eye of Saul Leiter | Esquire | DECEMBER, 1957. Available at:

SLF. (2022) Saul Leiter Foundation - photographer and painter. Available at:

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