Helen Levitt (1913-2009)
Yesterday, a great poet of the streets and an inspirational woman in history left us forever.
Helen Levitt was born on August 31, 1913 and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Levitt quit school and began her career in photography aged 18, while working in a portrait studio in the Bronx. There she acquired her technical skills, but her inspiration to make images came from art and photography exhibits and from films and theatre.
While other photographers of the 1930s were documenting social injustice around the country and the world, Levitt chose to devote a long career to a place and people just blocks away from her home. She was also well known for her photographs of street life in Mexico City.
Her passion for life was evident in everything she did. She had a natural aesthetic flair and was one of the pioneers of color photography. She knew how to combine intuition and intellect in order to create compelling compositions, and her photographs are simultaneously subtle, honest, rich and mysterious.
Levitt’s pictures have love without being sentimental. She pursued her dreams for nearly 70 years and inspired generations of artists. She will always be known as one of the greatest poets of everyday life. Her legacy and art will live forever.