Helen Levitt: A Way of Seeing, 2019
The ultimate edition of Helen Levitt’s classic of New York City street photography, with new high-quality reproductions
Ever since it was first published in 1965, Helen Levitt’s collection of photographs taken on the streets of 1940s New York City has been revered as a classic of its genre. Made in collaboration with writer James Agee, who provided the book’s introduction, A Way of Seeing was published twice more with modifications during Levitt’s lifetime. This volume seeks to provide a definitive edition of the book with oversight from Levitt’s former assistant Marvin Hoshimo, who has taken pains to include the best available prints and negatives of Levitt’s images.
Returned to its original compact size, this edition contains all 50 original photographs in addition to several other images meant to represent Levitt’s later understanding of herself as an artist and visual storyteller. Levitt’s photography has stood the test of time and now provides compelling insight into the daily lives of New York’s youngest denizens long after they have grown up.
Helen Levitt (1913-2009) learned the art of film development as a teenager working for a commercial portrait photographer in the Bronx. In the mid-1930s, she began to establish her own style of street photography, taking a particular interest in children who turned city sidewalks into their own personal playgrounds and art studios. A lifelong New Yorker, Levitt continued photographing urban life for nearly 70 years, during which she garnered attention from the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim. In addition to her photography, she worked for many years with James Agee and Janice Loeb on documentary films.