Helen Levitt's name became associated with photography in the 1930s. She was raised in Brooklyn, NY and loved music, dance, books, and foreign films. Though she did start high school, she left before graduating and went to work for a commercial photographer in the Bronx. She soon began to take pictures on her own. Inspired by the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans, she worked for a government project that was trying to show and fix the social problems of America. Though many other people that where chosen for this project took a different path, she decided to show the hardships of children in the streets of New York. Most of the children were dirty and had their clothes held together with pins. Helen took a lot of pictures of children playing in the street. She really tried to capture the essence of the time. Helen would frame an entire scene, rather then just a close-up. By doing this she gives her viewers more to feel from the entirety. The Museum of Modern Art showed her images of children in a one-person show in 1943. Then three years she received her photography fellowship. "It was a good neighborhood for taking pictures in those days, because that was before television," she told Block. "There was a lot happening. And the older people would be sitting out on the stoops because of the heat."
From Crosstown: Photographs by Helen Levitt During the 1950's Helen did not take many photographs because of her poor health. She started to study art at the Art Students League in New York between 1956 and 1957. She then became involved in film. She assisted, director, Luis Buñuel in editing documentary footage. She worked as an assistant editor for the Film Division of the Office of War Information. Then in 1959 and 1960 she received two grants to take color pictures on the streets of New York, but most of them were stolen in a burglary. The ones that weren't stolen were published in the book...
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