Helen Levitt – Photos and Artwork

About Helen Levitt

Helen Levitt, born in 1913 in Brooklyn to Russian Jewish immigrants, was an American photographer and cinematographer, known for her street photography around New York City. Her work captured the bustle, squalor, and beauty of everyday life in New York City with a focus on children playing on the streets. Levitt began her photography career at age 18 working for a portrait studio in the Bronx where she learned darkroom techniques while working for a portrait photographer.

Levitt met photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson in the mid-1930s who heavily influenced her work. She then purchased a 35mm Leica and began to see photography as an art form. Her photos were often described as candid yet poetic and appeared regularly in publications such as Fortune magazine. Sadly, Levitt was both celebrated yet unknown during her career.

In 1991, a retrospective exhibition of Levitt’s work titled ‘In the Street’ showcased some of her most iconic photos taken between 1936-1948 at The International Center of Photography. Helen Levitt died at age 95 in New York City leaving behind an influential archive of street photographs that still receive recognition from artists and photographers alike today due to their unique perspective on life’s simple pleasures found amidst urban chaos.

Photographs from Helen Levitt

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