Published: November 27, 2013
“Lots of people we think of as the famous photographers, particularly American photographers of the time, their photos are about something, quite overtly,” Mr. Leach, the filmmaker, said in an interview on Wednesday. “Saul’s were much more oblique than that.”
Saul Leiter, courtesy of Howard Greenberg Gallery"Street Scene," from 1959.
Unplanned and unstaged, Mr. Leiter’s photographs are slices fleetingly glimpsed by a walker in the city. People are often in soft focus, shown only in part or absent altogether, though their presence is keenly implied. Sensitive to the city’s found geometry, he shot by design around the edges of things: vistas are often seen through rain, snow or misted windows.
“A window covered with raindrops interests me more than a photograph of a famous person,” Mr. Leiter says in “In No Great Hurry.”
Saul Leiter, courtesy of Howard Greenberg Gallery"Dog in Doorway, Paterson," from 1952.
“So many photographers, they go out of their way to publicize themselves and to search out success,” he added. “Saul never did it. He photographed because he loved taking photographs.”
In the interview with Photographers Speak, Mr. Leiter set his role as a photographer against the backdrop of far more vital human events.
“I am not immersed in self-admiration,” he said. “When I am listening to Vivaldi or Japanese music or making spaghetti at 3 in the morning and realize that I don’t have the proper sauce for it, fame is of no use.”