Biography: Street photographer Helen Levitt

Biography: Street photographer Helen Levitt


Helen Levitt (August 31, 1913 – March 29, 2009) was an American photographer. She was particularly noted for “street photography” around New York City, and has been called “the most celebrated and least known photographer of her time.” She realized from conversations with Cartier-Bresson that photography could be an art form in itself and did not always have to be about social justice. Levitt was soon recognized for capturing what the French photographer called “the decisive moment” and her first major solo exhibition followed, at MoMA, in 1943. The show, Helen Levitt: Photographs Of Children, curated by Edward Steichen, reflected a city of children playing outside in the streets. This was a time before the advent of television and air conditioning in New York, a world where people lived and worked on the pavements, which became their living rooms.

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