MADRID.- First anthological exhibition in Spain of this photographer, who marked street photography aesthetics with her ability to halt time and movement.
A full review of her work since her death last year, through 120 images and the documentary film In the Street Helen Levitt is one of the great North American photographers of the second half of the 20th century. Her work is notable for her unique outlook and her documentary style, focusing on urban life, mainly in the street of New York. Her images capture tiny moments of daily life, apparently banal instants yet which have great metaphoric meaning for the social conditions of our time.
This exhibition, produced by the ICO Foundation, is the first anthology organised since her death in 2009 aged 96. It presents close to 120 images taken between 1936 and the 1990s, and the documentary In the Street, a precursor to independent American film which she made with the writer James Agee and the painter Janice Loeb in 1945. The exhibition underlines how Levitts work set out the aesthetics of instantaneity in street photography, with her ability to suspend movement, to capture tiny moments, to break the flow of reality with endless visual potential.
Helen Levitt (U.S.A. 19132009) was born in Brooklyn. She did not finish high school and from a young age she worked as a photographers apprentice in the Bronx, practicing her technique before embarking on her own shots. She was a friend of Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evens and also worked with Luis Buñuel, whom she helped with his pro-American propaganda shorts during the 2nd World War. From 1949 to 1959 she worked on film, and in the 1960s she experimented with colour. She abandoned this technique in the 1980s.