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Artists Helen Levitt

Helen Levitt

American Photographer and Filmmaker

Helen Levitt Photo

Born: August 31, 1913 - Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York

Died: March 29, 2009 - New York, New York

"All I can say about the work I do is that the aesthetic is in reality itself."


Helen Levitt is known for her spontaneous photographs that blur the lines between the theatrical fantasy and the gritty reality of the working-class neighborhoods of New York City. A pioneer of Street Photography, Levitt's personal and humanizing approach transformed the conventions of the genre. Levitt rejected the idea established by her predecessors that a single photograph could capture the whole truth within a coherent narrative. Rather, her images are open-ended and wondrous, and in this way, allude to a reality beyond what is depicted within the image itself. This translated well into the world of film, where she was also an early pioneer of avant garde filmmaking. Preferring more solitary work, Levitt returned to Street Photography in her later career, embracing color and illustrating that it could be just as powerful an art form as traditional black and white images.

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