In 1959, in a pioneering move, Levitt shifted from black-and-white to color film, taking pictures that captured the lively beat, humor, and drama of New York’s street life. In 1970, a burglar broke into her apartment, stealing nearly all her color transparencies and prints. Undeterred, Levitt took more color pictures, forty of which were presented in a monographic exhibition at MoMA in 1974, part of the Museum’s Projects series. (+)
Helen Levitt’s photograph of two children on a New York street is a wonderful example of her prolific engagement with street life. The capacity to transform the documentary into poetry, to interpret a scene on the street from a humanistic perspective and give it a new meaning, is a key feature of Brooklyn-born Levitt’s lifelong photographic practice, always more artistic than journalistic.
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