The incomparable Helen Levitt

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by craig, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    We lost Ms. Levitt earlier this week. Peace to the gods! One of the (sadly) overlooked "street shooter" greats. Her work has always meant a lot to me. She had a brilliant instinctive quality. Helen Levitt, No-Nonsense New Yorker - WSJ.com

    Please discuss.

    Love & Bass
     
  2. patrickt

    patrickt TPF Noob!

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    I wasn't familiar with Ms. Helen Levitt so I went on-line and looked at some of her photos. One thing that struck me was that every site I visited had, mostly, different photos. For many famouns photographers, you see the same few photos on every site.
     
  3. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I often ask myself why does someone have to die in this world before they receive the recognition they deserve.

    Post death recognition feels so empty and almost insulting. The quality of the photos did not suddenly improve upon the passing of a photographer, does it? Is it just becuase we realize that someone we knew was incredible while alive we were seeing their accomplishments but not doing anything about it? Is it really nothing more than commercialism where the value of their work rockets up becuase there is now a known end to their work?

    Why not celebrate their accomplishments in a manner that they can hear the words "thank-you" or "your work is incredible" to them while they are here with us?

    As mentioned before, we seem to be entering a time when many of our "great ones" are passing away and we are loosing them forever. Yes, their work lives on, but it is not their work that made them valuable to the human race, it is that person themselves, and when they pass on... they are forever lost to us.
     
  4. Dagwood56

    Dagwood56 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I became familiar with her work about 2 years ago and I loved it. I immediately looked into books of her work and there are several, but I've never gotten around to buying any of them. Until this thread, I didn't know she had passed away.... sad.
     
  5. patrickt

    patrickt TPF Noob!

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    However, if she were 25 instead of 95 and were submitting her photos for criticism on forums, I shutter to think how people would have dealt with her. And, she took photos of, gasp, children playing. I shudder to think what would happen to her now.
     
  6. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    She'd likely be arrested today as a pedo. Sad how society has changed in a few decades, huh?
     
  7. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    You make a really good point JerryPH. For me the passing of an artist is much different.

    I was first introduced to Ms Levitt's work in 1986 when I started at SVA. Ms Levitt garnered the utmost respect while living her full life. That includes, but is not limited to numerous book publications, grants and a show at MOMA. I can say that every single photo student that graced the halls of SVA (past & present) is influenced by her work. For some reason she was never a household name like her pals Bresson and Evans. Sad to me, but I get the feeling that it never bothered her too much.

    Personally I praise an artist in passing so that we can take a another look at their work and remember how much it has meant to us. To me the work and the artist behind it is very much the same. I believe it helps keep their spirit alive. I also believe that their spirit never dies. Just their bodies lose steam and wither away. Which to me is the natural order of things. No one is forever lost. Except for "Strobist's". Laughing out loud. Had to throw that in their for fun.

    P.S It has also occurred to me that the "Wall Street Journal" does not pick up your story, because you never gained the recognition you deserve.

    Love & Bass
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2009
  8. Dagwood56

    Dagwood56 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I find it surprising and very sad, that a person with Ms Levitt's artistic eye, didin't even gain recognition in a public library! At least not the one in the city of reading, which is the largest library near me. I would think someone with her talent should have at least one of her books included in a library holding thousands of titles; but sadly, a search of their titles and those in other area libraries, returned nothing.
     

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