Jump to content

Saul Leiter 'Early Color'

Recommended Posts

"Shame about Getty's very existence, and shame on Andrew if he's colluding with them"


My shameful collusion with them extends as far as buying a Fox print from 1932, a Slim

Aarons and a Thurston hopkins print. Is that shameful? Even if it is, would you be so kind

as to stop tarring and feathering my front door? My wife has an allergy to your choice of



I am aware about Getty's sharp practice when it comes to working photographers and

they're not on my Christmas card list.


I've heard Mike Wells mentioned before but I gather he's not cheap. correct?


My personal favourite photo bookshop in London used to be based on Upper Street,

Islington. That was great. Sadly, it closed about 3 years ago.


Back on topic. I spent some time looking at 'Early color' last night. The thought occurs that

about 95% of the photos must have been taken with something like a 90mm or, possibly,

even longer. I can't think of too many 'street' photgraphers who work like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 173
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Sorry not to reply sooner Boris. (Got a bit busy in the last couple of hours)


I have not been to Charing cross road for donkey's years so I cannot comment on Zwemmers/Claire De Rouen.


I simply put her address in here to help anyone reading - who lives in London - to find it. (I live 75 miles away and only go into 'tahn' a couple of times a year.)


I may well go there on my next visit though. Looks interesting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Trevor, I agree that, most of the time, it's not rewarding to dwell on what camera/lens/

hairgel was used. It's simply that, in this instance, Leiter used a long-ish lens nearly all of the

time. At best, it's moderately intriguing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Personally, I wouldn't deal with getty on any level whatsoever - I believe Klein's on the

record as saying that it's his aim to get the photographer split down to 10 per cent. And

that's ten per cent of their already dismal lowballing rates. Photographers have whined for


about the impending death of their industry, but G might just achieve it.


Mike Wells expensive? If you want a first edition of, say, Bill Owen's Suburbia then, yes,

he's expensive. But routine secondhand sales are at fair rates, and he also

normally has a good stock of remainders at giveaway prices. He's also happy to buy and

trade. On more than one occasion I've arrived at his home with a couple of fairly rare titles

and left half an hour later with a big bundle of other books and a check in my hand.


Trevor, thanks for the de Rouen details, though I'm a little concerned that you don't seem

to get out enough.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes sorry. I should have said I am not bothered what brand of lens he used.


I am not a 'good' Leica owner because I put a CV lens on mine and use a DSLR and enjoy photos regardless of what brand was used and think of selling mine sometimes to get a D200 with a Zeiss lens. I am very naughty.


But yes, I am interested to know if he used teles or cropped.


Boris, 'getting out' does not have to be to London to qualify as 'getting out'. There are other places.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Andrew, regarding your casting comments, I know that both George Clooney and Benicio

Del Toro (who would be my choice) are fighting hard for the role of the big man in "Rage".

Depp thought he was in the frame for the entire trilogy, but the director, Jacques Rivette

(chosen by the big guy himself because of his love for Celine and Julie Go Boating), felt he

only had the physical stature for the teenage GM in "Rattlesnakes". The only certainty is

Vincent Pastore in "Regret? Non!".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Back to the book.


'Early Color' arrived safely 30 mins ago. Small. (Had not read dimensions before buying) about 8x8. This is good. Adjusta-sleeve just fits with about 1mm to spare.


Yes it is nicely printed. Still looking at the pics.


One thing that jumps out is.. Hopper. I cannot help but feel Hopper must be an influence on Leiter in more than just a few of these pics.


Lanesville, Paris 1959, Kutztown 1958, Phone call 1957 and some others.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Boris, frankly I'm unhappy with the way the whole trilogy is panning out.


Yes, I know the Big Man wants Rivette for his uncompromising adherence to Nouvelle

Vague principles. However, only a Peckinpah or a Fuller could do justice to the bloody

climax of "Rage" where our hero takes on six limp wristed Canon users in the main square

of a sleepy Mexican town.


Russell Crowe is, for me, the obvious choice but, truthfully, the role cries for a young Jean

Gabin. Only he could portray the bleak, existential side of our protagonist's character.


As for Lisa Minelli and the Pet Shop Boys doing the title song.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Claire de Rouen books is pretty good. A great atmosphere as I remember and intriguingly

situated above a porn-book shop and added on to a gallery [Charing X Gallery - when I

was there they had a Peter Blake exhibition on, so it is a serious place] (Unless this is false

memory syndrome). I remember just wandering up to have a look at the gallery and

stumbling upon the shop and thinking it was a real find - a treasure trove.


She carries a lot of japanese books (I think her business partner, who started off as a

customer, is a Japan afficionado) though her main specialty is fashion, so you will also find

a lot of these. She counts many famous photographers among her clients I believe.


Tate Modern bookshop, off the Turbine Room, also has a good selection of photography



What I like at the Photog's Gallery is the Print Sales Room.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh - and in Paris, there is also a great shop on rue de colisee - just off Champs Elysees,

called CONTACTS. I think it might be run by same people as the st sulpice one. I found a

gorgeous Lartigue book there, huge hardback with hundreds of pictures that was almost too

large to take back to London, for 30 euros. I had to take it to the desk to check the price was

correct. Best photo book bargain I ever bought.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I cannot help but feel Hopper must be an influence on Leiter in more than just a few of

these pics."


Trevor, I can see why you think this but my inclination is to politely diasgree with you. I'd

find it easier to explain if I could lay my hands on the Hopper book I've got somewhere

but, I think that Leiter is more interested in abstraction.


Hopper's paintings seem to be far more concerned with narrative and his technique is

quite 'traditional'. I think Leiter's aproach is more playful and he is almost determinedly

non-narrative. Having said that, I do realise that one can find a narrative in almost



If Leiter is inspired by painters then it's more likely to be the artists mentioned in the

introduction: Willem de Kooning, Philip Guston and Mondrian. The latter, of course, gets a

photo, by Leiter, named after him, "Mondrian Worker".


It's at moments like this, I realise how bad I am at describing photographers' work.


Let's have another film v digital discussion instead.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can see where Trevor's coming from, but I'm inclined to agree with Andrew. The

Hopperesque tag gets thrown around too much and too casually.


Coming back to an earlier (superficially) glib comment I made regarding London being the

only place in the UK, I just wanted to run this past you.....In some ways, if you're an

outsider, London really can seem like the only place in the UK. At least the only place

where you can feel relaxed, unthreatened, and not judged. In the late 90s I took some time

off and travelled the length and breadth of the British Isles, and, at least at times, it was a

disspiriting experience. If I'd been on my own I suspect it would have felt different, but my

travelling partner and girlfriend (at the time) was both French and Black - characteristics

which seemed to be a huge provocation to the average smalltown or rural Brit. We began

at the Isle of Wight (which I took to be a name, but turned out to be a misspelt manifesto),

then headed west to Cornwall where the locals seemed to think they were still auditioning

for Straw Dogs. Then up to Wales where the traditional Celtic pub welcome of the

thousand yard stare and racist muttering warmed our hearts. I'll not bore you with the

details of the entire journey, but, overall, it didn't do a great deal to strengthen the

Entente Cordiale. Maybe things are different now, maybe not, but for me London is one of

the few places in the UK that seems connected to the outside world.


My apologies for making a strange thread stranger.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Boris, I left England in 91 and have never regretted it, even though I am neither French nor black. But my accent (which to most people would be upper class, although in reality it is simply that I have no regional accent because English is my second language) got me into trouble many times. In the end i just couldn't stand England anymore.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If things were bad in the late '90s, I can't see them being any better now. Maybe visiting some

of the major cities 'might' have presented you, and your then-girlfriend, with a more positive

view. I honestly couldn't say.


The UK still has a problem. Given recent incidents in the rest of Eurpoe eg banana throwing

in Spanish football grounds we are not alone in this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for commenting Bob. Andrew, it wasn't unremittingly bleak, there were some

chinks of light along the way (Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, the startling beauty of the

north-west coast of Scotland, Belfast) and I'm well aware that mainland Europe has it's

"issues". What makes the UK feel different is that there seems to be little

acknowledgement of the levels of xenophobia. France, for example, has real problems

with racism, but it's much more in the open - rather than masquerading as some weird

folksy commonsense stance. Smalltown UK feels much more like Central and Eastern

Europe in it's visceral fear of outsiders. I've been to a number of full-on conflict zones that

feel way less threatening than Wales - and I'm not joking about this. I'd be interested in

hearing Trevor's response.


I promise after this thread I'll revert to my traditional role of making cheap and cruel jibes

at the expense of fat PR photographers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah, yes. Little England. I feel considerably safer walking the streets of London now than I ever

did, 30 years ago, going out on a Friday night in the sleepy Warwickshire village I hail from.


Vicious, really vicious. This is a strange country. Having said that, I think Peter A's anecdote

merely proves that rugby, the world over, is played by nutters who think maiming gives you

extra points.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...