Levitt, Helen

born Aug. 31, 1913, New York, N.Y., U.S.

U.S. photographer.

She began her career in photography at age 18. Her first show, "Photographs of Children," was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1943. It featured the subject matter
children, especially the underprivileged
and humanity that characterize much of her work. In the mid 1940s Levitt collaborated with the novelist James Agee, filmmaker Sidney Meyers, and painter Janice Loeb on The Quiet One, a prizewinning documentary about a young African American boy. For most of the 1960s she concentrated on film editing and directing. Levitt resumed her pursuit of photography in the 1970s.

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▪ American photographer
born August 31, 1913, New York, New York, U.S.

      American photographer whose work captures the bustle, squalor, and beauty of everyday life in New York City.

      Levitt began her career in photography at age 18 working in a portrait studio in the Bronx. After seeing the works of French photographer Henri-Cartier Bresson (Cartier-Bresson, Henri), she was inspired to purchase a 35-mm Leica camera and began to scour the poor neighbourhoods of her native New York for subject matter. About 1938 she took her portfolio to photographer Walker Evans (Evans, Walker)'s studio, where she also met novelist and film critic James Agee (Agee, James), who had collaborated with Evans on the book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941). She struck up friendships with the two men, occasionally accompanying the former on his photo shoots in the city.

 During this period Levitt often chose children, especially the underprivileged, as her subject matter. Her first show, “Photographs of Children,” was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1943 and featured the humanity that infuses much of her work. Included in this show were photographs from her visit in 1941 to Mexico City, where she photographed the city's street life. Agee wrote the introduction to Levitt's book of photographs entitled A Way of Seeing: Photographs of New York, which she compiled in the late 1940s. (The book was not published until 1965, 10 years after Agee's death.) In it, he praised Levitt's photographs, finding them “as beautiful, perceptive, satisfying and enduring as any lyrical work that I know.”

      In the mid-1940s Levitt collaborated with Agee, filmmaker Sidney Meyers, and painter Janice Loeb on The Quiet One, a prizewinning documentary about a young African American boy, and with Agee and Loeb on the film In the Street, which captures everyday life in East Harlem. For the next decade she concentrated on film editing and directing. In 1959 and 1960 she received Guggenheim Fellowships to investigate techniques using colour photography. The slides that resulted from the project, shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1963, were stolen from her apartment before they could be duplicated. Levitt focused for the rest of the 1960s on film work and resumed photography in the 1970s, with a major Museum of Modern Art show in 1974.

Additional Reading
Sandra S. Phillips and Maria Morris Hambourg, Helen Levitt (1991).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • LEVITT, HELEN — (1907– ), U.S. photographer. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Levitt made a mark with some of the most indelible photographs of New York City street scenes in the 1930s and 1940s, a volatile time in America. Levitt, who continued working into her nineties …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Levitt, Helen — (n. 31 ago. 1913, Nueva York, N.Y., EE.UU.). Fotógrafa estadounidense. Inició su carrera como fotógrafa a los 18 años de edad. Su primera exposición, Photographs of Children tuvo lugar en el Museo de Arte Moderno de Nueva York, en 1943. Esta… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Helen Levitt — Naissance 31 août 1913 Brooklyn, États Unis Décès 29 mars 2009 (à 95 ans) New York, États Unis Nationalité …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Helen — /hel euhn/, n. 1. Also called Helen of Troy. Class. Myth. the beautiful daughter of Zeus and Leda and wife of Menelaus whose abduction by Paris was the cause of the Trojan War. 2. a female given name. [ < F Hélène < L Helena < Gk Heléne, of… …   Universalium

  • Helen — Hay varias mujeres llamadas Helen, incluyendo: ● Helen Atkinson Wood ● Helen Chadwick ● Helen Clark ● Helen Frankenthaler ● Helen Gandy ● Helen Garner ● Helen Hayes ● Helen Hunt ● Helen Keller ● Helen Mirren También existen al menos tres ciudades …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Helen Levitt — (born 1913 08 31, Brooklyn, New York) is an American photographer. She is particularly noted for street photography around New York City, and has been called the most celebrated and least known photographer of her time. cite journal |last=Strauss …   Wikipedia

  • Helen Levitt — (* 31. August 1913 in Brooklyn, New York City; † 29. März 2009 ebenda) war eine US amerikanische Fotografin und Filmemacherin. Sie zählte zu den wichtigsten Vertretern der New Yorker Street Photography. Ihre bevorzugten Motive waren Kinder, die… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Levitt — can refer to: *Arthur Levitt (b. 1931), former chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission *Alfred Lewis Levitt (1916 2002), American screenwriter blacklisted in the 1950s. *Dorothy Levitt 1900s Female Racing Driver *Gene Levitt (1920 …   Wikipedia

  • Helen Levitt — Nacimiento 31 de agosto de 1913  Estados Unidos, Nueva York Fallecimiento …   Wikipedia Español

  • Levitt — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Al Levitt (1932–1994), US amerikanischer Jazzschlagzeuger Helen Levitt (1913–2009), US amerikanische Fotografin und Filmemacherin Jonathan Levitt (* 1963), englischer Schachspieler Joseph Gordon Levitt (*… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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