Finding beauty and poetry in a cold, snowy city

Not a fan of the chilly wet days that characterize a New York winter? Let these shimmering images from Saul Leiter of the city in the 1950s and 1960s give you a different perspective.

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Leiter, a longtime East Village resident who died in 2013 at age 89, was one of Gotham’s greatest (and mostly unheralded) street photographers, capturing the color of the mid-century metropolis in a subdued, tender glow.

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His soft-focus photos show us seemingly random, ordinary street scenes: pedestrians at a newsstand, a worker taking a break on the sidewalk, the visual poetry of people and buildings reflected in glass, around corners, and through a misty lens.

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Perhaps his most evocative photos showcase New York during wintertime. In a season when shades of gray typically mark the sky and sidewalks, Leiter’s camera manages to draw out the magnificent colors of the winter city.

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Yellow taxis, red umbrellas, and the white and red signage on a city bus contrast with snowed-in and rained-out streets.

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“I may be old-fashioned,” Leiter says in a 2014 documentary about his art and life, In No Great Hurry. “But I believe there is such a thing as a search for beauty—a delight in the nice things in the world. And I don’t think one should have to apologize for it.”

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He found that beauty in the slush, snowfall, and puddles of New York’s anonymous streets.

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9 Responses to “Finding beauty and poetry in a cold, snowy city”

  1. My little simple thought Says:

    […] via Finding beauty and poetry in a cold, snowy city — Ephemeral New York […]

  2. wendy Says:

    Love these photos and missing my NY.

  3. Ruth Rosenthal Says:

    Beautiful!! I’ve never heard of Leiter. Once again, thank you for your wonderful blog.

  4. Dymoon Says:

    I am so happy I singed up to follow.. great pictures and info!

  5. Benjamin Feldman Says:

    Magnificent post and thanks for alerting me to Saul Leiter’s work:-)

  6. Linda D. Says:

    Wow! Thank you – a whole new world of photographs I’ve never seen. Leiter’s work is stunning!

  7. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    So glad everyone enjoys!

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