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Author Topic: Saul Leiter  (Read 985 times)

Rob C

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Saul Leiter
« on: November 23, 2019, 10:33:23 am »

This is about the Saul Leiter Foundation, that is now looking after his oeuvre.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DsTh0dujQIE

Rob

petermfiore

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Re: Saul Leiter
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2019, 11:49:49 am »

This is about the Saul Leiter Foundation, that is now looking after his oeuvre.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DsTh0dujQIE

Rob

Hi Rob,
I was at that lecture, being it's at the school where I teach. I spoke to a number of folks that knew him. It was wonderfully informative.

Peter
« Last Edit: November 23, 2019, 02:16:52 pm by petermfiore »
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Rob C

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Re: Saul Leiter
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2019, 01:05:37 pm »

Hi Rob,
I was at that lecture, being it's the school where I teach. I spoke to a number of folks that knew him. It was wonderfully informative.

Peter

Lucky man, you!

:-)

Photog55

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Re: Saul Leiter
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2020, 09:37:03 am »

Mr. Leiter is my favorite photographer. I love how he sees the world. This is a great interview. https://youtu.be/GLUwFf4iv9E

Sharon
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Rob C

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Re: Saul Leiter
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2020, 09:58:34 am »

Mr. Leiter is my favorite photographer. I love how he sees the world. This is a great interview. https://youtu.be/GLUwFf4iv9E

Sharon

Yes, I discovered him the first time back in '59 - I think - in the pages of one of the Popular Photography Annuals that I would wait for every year, hoping that a token copy might make it's way to the magazine kiosk in Central Station, Glasgow! I must have haunted that place, because over the years I amassed quite a few of those annuals. When we left to move to Spain, I gave them all away to a studio I used to know. I wish I'd kept them all.

Then, after that initial intro and a gig for Britain's bright-but-short-lived Nova magazine, he vanished from my sight until the internet came along.

I've got three of his books, and pull them out now and again when I get more depressed than usual. He lifts me up.

Rob

Photog55

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Re: Saul Leiter
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2020, 10:39:28 am »

Exactly - he lifts me up too. I would never try to shoot like him, that would be impossible, but he inspires me. And I appreciate his humble confidence.

Sharon
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Rob C

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Re: Saul Leiter
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2020, 05:17:30 pm »

Exactly - he lifts me up too. I would never try to shoot like him, that would be impossible, but he inspires me. And I appreciate his humble confidence.

Sharon


I have been more presumptuous than you: I have tried to ape his work and can't, not only because my eyes are not his eyes, but even if they were, neither he nor I could do it today because that world wherein lies his non-fashion reputation no longer exists as it did. The forties and fifties are long gone. He has been lucky in that respect: the modern world simply can't ever compete with him in any meaningful way. And in my case, I don't even have a real city! That's a part of what I do like about the Japanese shooter in the debate Ivo started: his locations, regardless of how he has used them, are exciting.

Actually, there are some digital images of Leiter's around on the web, and even he can't compete with his old self because the digital cameras don't give him what outdated stock once did. The late stuff just doesn't look like his film images: too crisp and lacking the homely touch of muted colours even when they were actually strong, if that makes sense. However, if he'd had time to get deeply into Photoshop, he could perhaps have pulled it off, but would he have really wanted to do himself over? I'm sure he didn't see himself as his present-day fans do; perhaps he couldn't see the differences between his film and digital stuff simply because he was too close. And if he could, would he have cared in the same way as we might?

I once placed a link on LuLa to the Leiter interview (In no great hurry) that was made shortly before his time ran out; well worth watching if it is still a live link. It was available to buy on Amazon; perhaps it still is. It was ultimately quite sad to watch: an old man rummaging through his stuff, discovering old material from Soames, finding old boxes of he knew not what... now and then I try to clean up my life in case I manage to get a sale and have quickly to leave the apartment in which I have lived for almost forty years: after five minutes it breaks my heart and I put everything back where it was and I tell myself that if the time comes, I can be ruthless when I have to be that way, and dump the memories then.

Rob
« Last Edit: February 14, 2020, 03:32:38 am by Rob C »
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RSL

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Re: Saul Leiter
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2020, 08:12:11 am »

Actually, there are some digital images of Leiter's around on the web, and even he can't compete with his old self because the digital cameras don't give him what outdated stock once did. The late stuff just doesn't look like his film images: too crisp and lacking the homely touch of muted colours even when they were actually strong, if that makes sense. However, if he'd had time to get deeply into Photoshop, he could perhaps have pulled it off, but would he have really wanted to do himself over? I'm sure he didn't see himself as his present-day fans do; perhaps he couldn't see the differences between his film and digital stuff simply because he was too close. And if he could, would he have cared in the same way as we might?

Hi Rob, I'm a Leiter fan too, though not to your extent. I'm into a lot of his street work, though not the fashion stuff, which I don't know enough about to be able to judge.

But let's talk a bit about digital. I don't think film is better...  or worse for that matter. I think what you get from a digital camera is different from what you get from film. Whether you like it better or don't like it better is a separate question. Here's an example. I shot this yesterday in a Mexican restaurant because I liked the way the sun was hitting the guy's face. The room was quite dark, and he was on the opposite side of it. I wouldn't have been able to make this shot with any available color film. I wouldn't even have been able to make it with Tri-X in my old Leica M4. The camera clicked off at ISO 6400, four stops away from Tri-X -- in color! I did a tiny bit of post, and reduced the saturation a bit.

I'm not suggesting this is a great picture. I don't think it is. I should have raised the frame higher to complete the paintings on the wall. But it helps to illustrate the point that digital is different from film -- not better or worse.
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Ivo_B

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Re: Saul Leiter
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2020, 09:08:43 am »

Hi Rob, I'm a Leiter fan too, though not to your extent. I'm into a lot of his street work, though not the fashion stuff, which I don't know enough about to be able to judge.

But let's talk a bit about digital. I don't think film is better...  or worse for that matter. I think what you get from a digital camera is different from what you get from film. Whether you like it better or don't like it better is a separate question. Here's an example. I shot this yesterday in a Mexican restaurant because I liked the way the sun was hitting the guy's face. The room was quite dark, and he was on the opposite side of it. I wouldn't have been able to make this shot with any available color film. I wouldn't even have been able to make it with Tri-X in my old Leica M4. The camera clicked off at ISO 6400, four stops away from Tri-X -- in color! I did a tiny bit of post, and reduced the saturation a bit.

I'm not suggesting this is a great picture. I don't think it is. I should have raised the frame higher to complete the paintings on the wall. But it helps to illustrate the point that digital is different from film -- not better or worse.

Well, well, well

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RSL

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Re: Saul Leiter
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2020, 09:32:42 am »

Well, well, well

??? What, exactly, is that supposed to mean, Ivo? Are you sure you're in the right thread?
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Ivo_B

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Re: Saul Leiter
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2020, 12:12:45 pm »

??? What, exactly, is that supposed to mean, Ivo? Are you sure you're in the right thread?


O yes.  ;D ;D
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RSL

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Re: Saul Leiter
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2020, 12:17:39 pm »

Hang on, Ivo. They're probably on their way.
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KLaban

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Re: Saul Leiter
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2020, 12:54:38 pm »

Come on guys, you're better than this.
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Photog55

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Re: Saul Leiter
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2020, 01:21:45 pm »

Hi Rob, I'm a Leiter fan too, though not to your extent. I'm into a lot of his street work, though not the fashion stuff, which I don't know enough about to be able to judge.

But let's talk a bit about digital. I don't think film is better...  or worse for that matter. I think what you get from a digital camera is different from what you get from film. Whether you like it better or don't like it better is a separate question. Here's an example. I shot this yesterday in a Mexican restaurant because I liked the way the sun was hitting the guy's face. The room was quite dark, and he was on the opposite side of it. I wouldn't have been able to make this shot with any available color film. I wouldn't even have been able to make it with Tri-X in my old Leica M4. The camera clicked off at ISO 6400, four stops away from Tri-X -- in color! I did a tiny bit of post, and reduced the saturation a bit.

I'm not suggesting this is a great picture. I don't think it is. I should have raised the frame higher to complete the paintings on the wall. But it helps to illustrate the point that digital is different from film -- not better or worse.

Love the color and light in this photo.

Sharon
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RSL

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Re: Saul Leiter
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2020, 03:20:34 pm »

Thanks, Sharon. The food's good in that restaurant too. Here's another from the same sitting. As you can see, their Margaritas are, well, "generous."
« Last Edit: February 16, 2020, 03:26:14 pm by RSL »
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Rob C

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Re: Saul Leiter
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2020, 03:42:48 pm »

Hi Rob, I'm a Leiter fan too, though not to your extent. I'm into a lot of his street work, though not the fashion stuff, which I don't know enough about to be able to judge.

But let's talk a bit about digital. I don't think film is better...  or worse for that matter. I think what you get from a digital camera is different from what you get from film. Whether you like it better or don't like it better is a separate question. Here's an example. I shot this yesterday in a Mexican restaurant because I liked the way the sun was hitting the guy's face. The room was quite dark, and he was on the opposite side of it. I wouldn't have been able to make this shot with any available color film. I wouldn't even have been able to make it with Tri-X in my old Leica M4. The camera clicked off at ISO 6400, four stops away from Tri-X -- in color! I did a tiny bit of post, and reduced the saturation a bit.

I'm not suggesting this is a great picture. I don't think it is. I should have raised the frame higher to complete the paintings on the wall. But it helps to illustrate the point that digital is different from film -- not better or worse.


Of course it's different (digital to film), and different enough to remove Leiter's own work from the celebrated style of filmic 50s that made him an art photography hero, and put the few digitals of his that I have encountered into a fairly mundane slot where he sinks into the current trope with hardly a trace.

Partly, it feeds my subjective take on why I think much of contemporary "street" doesn't work: the challenge of film speed limitations and the vanishing of them as hurdles to be overcome reduces the value of the new stuff, making it feel little more than just another pointed camera with precious little skill behind it. It's all become too easy, the only requirement sometimes being a brass neck. There is still something exciting about a photo that's been made against all the odds; in fact, I think that sometimes the blur of shots on the borderline of being captured projects its own glamour.

Klein kinda illustrates this concept of borderline capture quite well: in his case, it's in the grittiness.

petermfiore

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Re: Saul Leiter
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2020, 03:48:31 pm »


Klein kinda illustrates this concept of borderline capture quite well: in his case, it's in the grittiness.
Rob,
Oh yes! His blur is always perfectly placed....

Peter

RSL

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Re: Saul Leiter
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2020, 04:09:27 pm »


Of course it's different (digital to film), and different enough to remove Leiter's own work from the celebrated style of filmic 50s that made him an art photography hero, and put the few digitals of his that I have encountered into a fairly mundane slot where he sinks into the current trope with hardly a trace.

Partly, it feeds my subjective take on why I think much of contemporary "street" doesn't work: the challenge of film speed limitations and the vanishing of them as hurdles to be overcome reduces the value of the new stuff, making it feel little more than just another pointed camera with precious little skill behind it. It's all become too easy, the only requirement sometimes being a brass neck. There is still something exciting about a photo that's been made against all the odds; in fact, I think that sometimes the blur of shots on the borderline of being captured projects its own glamour.

Klein kinda illustrates this concept of borderline capture quite well: in his case, it's in the grittiness.

Rob, I agree that much of contemporary street doesnít work Ė not because ďcontemporariesĒ are shooting digital instead of film, but because many of those ďcontemporariesĒ donít understand what street photography is all about. Whatís happening isnít new. Check the history of painting, beginning, say, when the Impressionists first came on the scene. There was a world of crap back then too. Time, as usual, is the ultimate critic, and the bad stuff gradually disappears, leaving behind what really matters. Thatís exactly whatís happened to photography over the years. How much of Leiterís contemporaries' work is still around?

As far as the downside of film speed limitations being reduced (they havenít really been eliminated), the argument sounds like Brooks Jensen's conclusion that fine art photography is in great danger, if not already on its deathbed, because photography has become easier than it was when you hauled an 11 x 14 camera along with a tripod to the brink of the chasm in order to get a decent picture.

Ultimately, you work with the tools you have at hand. I spent roughly 55 years with film, though not nearly to the extent you did. My romance with professional work was very brief because it didnít take me long to find I hated doing what other people wanted instead of what I wanted. But I did enough work in film, and spent enough time in the darkroom, to know what film was capable of producing. Iím soooo glad digital came along. A lot of the hassles have fallen away, leaving behind whatís really important.
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Manoli

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Re: Saul Leiter
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2020, 10:01:35 am »

For Rob C:
Saul Leiter collection (167 of them) on Instagram
https://instagram.com/saulleiterpage?igshid=1inalurdb566i
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Manoli

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Re: Saul Leiter
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2020, 10:07:45 am »

Wrong thread but too good to miss:

Lachlan Baileyn on Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/p/B-Zm33AnNEq/?igshid=1nmo2vcmnferw

My first assistant @jakemerrill and I worked pretty hard to capture a 70s diffused look in-camera, using old lenses and a bunch of other analogue tricks. Hard to appreciate on a small screen but I was really happy with how it looked as a print.

> How do you do it? I was always curious how David Hamilton got that gauzy look
> Apparently he used to breath on the lens .... I tried that but it just seemed too Creepy lol  <3
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