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Thames & Hudson

Helen Levitt Photofile by Jean-François Chevrier

Helen Levitt Photofile by Jean-François Chevrier

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A compact survey of the work of 20th-century photographer Helen Levitt, best known for her New York street photography.

Brooklyn-born photographer Helen Levitt (1913–2009) was an assistant to Walker Evans and a friend of Henri Cartier-Bresson, but forged her own path with fierce independence and endless curiosity about the world around her. She is best known for her street photography, capturing children at play on the streets of Depression-era New York and chalk drawings on walls, but she also cast her eye upon the adult world, seeking out moments of movement, transience and theatricality.

Following her first solo exhibition at MoMA in 1943, she devoted more than a decade to filmmaking, but returned to photography in the late 1950s and began to work in colour as well as black and white. Lyrical and witty, her images reveal the streets of New York as flowing with life and unexpected poetry.

About the author:Jean-François Chevrier is an art historian, art critic and exhibition curator. He lives and works in Paris. He is Professor in the History of Contemporary Art at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

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