I keep on with New York Photographers. I really got a fascination for the streets of the Big Apple. With Helen Levitt's color body of work, funky 70's become a sociological study of the most phantasmagorical city in the world.
Street photography is something interesting for three reasons, firstly that it's anthropological; it studies the way we live – that this is driven by the photographers curiosity (Levitt was a school teacher who began photography to study chalk drawings and the children associated with them), secondly It's interesting how it dates; how its culturally different and how it seems so obvious it's not our time. Finally, street photography is permitted to have a sense of humour (not that it always does – it's just permitted to).
Levitt has her own range. In addition to humour she shows a tenderness, playfulness, fun, beauty, contrast but most of all I think she is a great humaniser, she captures character; Children, the elderly, women with their curlers in, men in vests, the down and out, dispossessed and the badly dressed. She shows character of people but also the personality of the streets and neighbourhoods she works in.
It's also Interesting to see her shifting between black and white and colour, and back again. Starting so early it's no surprise she began with black and white. Her composition is excellent but when it comes to colour film she picks up on how colour works instinctively, often making it the theme of a picture, where some would have struggled with using it at all.