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  1. #1
    SuzanneR's Avatar
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    Discuss a Helen Levitt Photograph

    First off, thanks to Jim for coming up with a great way to discuss photographs and photography.

    I wanted to post a photograph by one of the best street photographers ever. Her persistent shooting, imho, has created an extraordinary document of urban living, specifically in NYC in the last century. It's something photography, and her photography does very well.

    http://www.robertkleingallery.com/ga...2_itemId=17344

    I would love to hear others' thoughts on this image.

  2. #2
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    Exactly why moms insist their kids wear clean underpants. Talk about a decisive moment...terrific! (Now it would end up as evidence in court.)
    John Voss

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  3. #3

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    I really like this one. Levitt is one of the great street photographers. She worked as an assistant to Walker Evans in the 30s and her images of childhood always stirke a contemporary chord regardless of when they were made. A signature of great photography IMHO.

    It is also a nice selection because as opposed to the Minor White and William Eggleston photos that can be interpreted in a variety of ways this is just a simple, wonderful slice of life. I'm glad she had the quick eye to capture it on film. I guess it could also have been titled, "boys will be boys".

    I put up a thumbnail if that works better for others. Title is "Boy Lifting Girls Dress 1943"



    Oh, by the way, I thought Blansky grew up in Canada, not NYC.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails abc.jpg  
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  4. #4
    Markok765's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chinn
    I

    I put up a thumbnail if that works better for others. Title is "Boy Lifting Girls Dress 1943"



    Oh, by the way, I thought Blansky grew up in Canada, not NYC.
    Classic blansky!
    Marko Kovacevic
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  5. #5
    Bill Hahn's Avatar
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    Levitt is one of my favorite photographers, but I wasn't familiar with this photograph. When I look at this, I think: what was the little boy's motivation? I don't think it was malice, or sexual, I think it was simple curiosity.

    It's difficult (at least for me) to remember the attitudes of childhood. Just today I heard a young child say with great pride: "I'm stepping on your shadows!" to his mother....

    Notice I say nothing about framing here, or the rules of thirds, or composition. I'm astonished Levitt captured this "decisive moment" at all...
    "I bought a new camera. It's so advanced you don't even need it." - Steven Wright

  6. #6
    blansky's Avatar
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    This picture is about discovery.

    In this case the greys are trying to rid the area of the whites. They have virtually obliterated the white from the wall and they are threatening the white people. To the little boys complete surprise his fellow grey, after further inspection, is actually a white in disguise.

    It is a lesson we all need to learn.

    Don't trust anybody. Or at least check them out.


    Michael
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  7. #7

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    I believe that she's in her 90s, and still lives in a NYC cold-water walkup.
    I was fortunate to have purchased this from her several years ago. Wish I had bought the HC-B image of the little French kid carrying two wine bottles to go with it.
    http://www.masters-of-photography.co...k_bottles.html

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Hahn
    Notice I say nothing about framing here, or the rules of thirds, or composition. I'm astonished Levitt captured this "decisive moment" at all...
    With the right subject matter and the "decisive moment", all the technical aspects simply become secondary to the image.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  9. #9
    Bill Hahn's Avatar
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    "I bought a new camera. It's so advanced you don't even need it." - Steven Wright

  10. #10
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    I see it much as a coda of the Great Depression photos that Leavitt, Walker etc. had produced.

    With the onset of WWII the shared poverty of the Depression across all racial groups starts to diverge. Leavitt could not have known at the time of this photo that the war then just beginning would result in the a post-war prosperity for whites that would enable them to "flee" the inner city.

    And only now, 64 years later do we see much inner city poverty disappearing. Not because we have solved the problems of the poor - but because we are rapidly gentrifying the core inner city in New York pushing the poor further and further to the margins.

    Then again, it could just be a curious little boy taking advantage of a situation where the girl is focused on her dispute with the other lass. Boys will be boys!

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