"At least a dozen of Helen Levitt's photographs seem to me as beautiful, perceptive, satisfying, and enduring as any lyrical work that I know. In their general quality and coherence, moreover, the photographs as a whole body, as a book, seem to me to combine into a unified view of the world, an uninsistent but irrefutable manifesto of a way of ...
"At least a dozen of Helen Levitt's photographs seem to me as beautiful, perceptive, satisfying, and enduring as any lyrical work that I know. In their general quality and coherence, moreover, the photographs as a whole body, as a book, seem to me to combine into a unified view of the world, an uninsistent but irrefutable manifesto of a way of seeing, and in a gently and wholly unpretentious way, a major poetic work." --James Agee World-renowned for her iconic black-and-white street photographs, New York City's visual poet laureate Helen Levitt also possessed a little-known archive of color work, which was been collected for the first time in "Slide Show," her third powerHouse Books monograph. In 1959, and again in 1960, Helen Levitt received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation to photograph in color on the streets of New York, where she had photographed two decades earlier in black-and-white. But tragically, the best of these pioneering color pictures were stolen from her apartment in 1970 and she had to start over again. In 1974 the new work was shown as a continuous slide projection at New York's Museum of Modern Art--an early example of a slide show presentation by a museum and one of the first exhibitions of serious color photography anywhere in the world. "Slide Show" presents more than one hundred photographs--including eight surviving images from the 1959-60 series--more than half of which have never been exhibited or published before. This impressive monograph is a worthy successor to her magnum opus, "Crosstown" (powerHouse, 2001), which included the largest collection of her color pictures to date, and to her more intimate volume of black-and-white work, "Here and There" (powerHouse, 2004), which presented more than eighty "unknown" Levitts taken over six decades.
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Publishers Weekly, 2006-01-23 Often squalid and always unsentimental, but full of wonder and sly humor, photographer Levitt's New York City is both familiar and startling, never more so than in these color photos from the early 1970s. (The book also includes a handful of prints from 1959-1960.) Without the arty distancing effect of black-and-white (for which she is primarily known), Levitt's trademark wit has more hard-edged immediacy. Levitt's city on a summer afternoon, the time of day when most of these photos were taken, is as full of oddities as the ocean floor. In one striking shot, a tiny girl crouches awkwardly by the curb like a little crab, her delicate knees and elbows askew. Levitt seems to regard the human body as a fascinating bit of found sculpture. She captures a man's belly sagging in counterpoint to a crumpled car fender, a beggar's folds of fat hanging down like the fabric of his rag bags and the brutal contrast between an old, bent-over couple and the gleaming hoods of a pair of sport cars. Old age and poverty are on extensive display, but the effect is never grim. Levitt-who still lives and works in New York-never lets the pathetic and dirty overshadow the pure pleasure of seeing without flinching. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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