Saul Leiter (1923-2013)

Newspaper Kiosk, 1958 is one of my favorites from Early Color (Steidl, 2008). Like many of his best photos, it borders on abstraction, doesn’t have a specific subject, seems to be painfully shy of showing faces, despite the midtown Manhattan location. It’s a photograph of two lights in a snow storm. In the midst of “Early Color,” with shots through windows of mirrors reflecting other colored glass with rain on them, two lights in a snow storm feels like a very specific subject. Like many of his best shots, your first reaction is: Why did he take that? When he was shooting Kodachrome in the 1950s there was no way to make the perfect little book that “Early Color” is, so he was shooting for some future audience that would both have the technology to reproduce the slides, and appreciate how he saw.