Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Saul Leiter II

I decided to spend a little more time reflecting on the beauty of Leiter's work.

This image is a little more intimate than many of his images. The woman writing (who knows what?) is in close range. We are separated by the reflective glass once again, and yet watch this woman write. The glass also functions as a a mirror making this a self-portrait of sorts (notice Leiter himself reflected with arms upraised on the right directly above the woman). Notice also the mirroring of shapes...the chairs, the cups and saucers, the tables themselves. While I have not studies Leiter's work greatly, I do think this is the first image that I have noticed his own reflection.

This image was my favorite from the show. It is a puzzle to understand... which layers are reflected and which are genuine? What is in front of me and what is behind? Certainly we see Leiter playing with the foreground and reflection ideas that I have been noting. But we also clearly see the the prominance of the color red in the awning, the hat, on the sign at the left, even the tonal ranges of the skin fall in that direction.

Equally interesting are the images of 4 different men reflected and real in the one image. On the right we have a largely frontal position, next a left profile, then a right profile, and then a back of the head shot. Not only has he captured reflections of 4 different men but in 4 primary angles.

This image is also nearly in greyscale save the human element once again protruding in from off the image. The red umbrella alerts us to the danger of the snowy passage across the street.

Once again we see Leiter's color usage and it is red again. Red is present in the bar sign, Walkers Gin truck box as well as the cab with its door swung wide. And our human element wears a bright red tie. The human element remains largely indestinct by the shadow cast by the hat which is only highlighted by the white cigarette protruding from the ray of light that catches the nose and lips of this passer-by. We also see Leiter's standard foreground work with the large box sliding off the right of the image.