#1357. Saul Leiter’s Unfinished World

By Paul Perton | Art & Creativity

May 04

Milton Keynes (MK) – hardly the artistic hub of the UK. In fact, aside from being the latest of the country’s ”new” towns, MK has little to recommend it, save for the codebreakers museum at Bletchley Park and its preference for roundabouts rather than traffic lights for traffic control.

There are 130 roundabouts and like any traffic control device, they are a PITA.

So, you can imagine that late last year, I was more than a bit surprised to see the MK Gallery advising the imminent arrival of a large photographic exhibition of the work of legendary Saul Leiter.

The Guardian wrote about him here.

It’s on until 2 June and if you haven’t seen it yet, get your skates on or you’ll miss an extraordinary opportunity to see the work of a genius.

I took a few phone camera shots in the Gallery, thinking that using a larger Fuji would likely run me into some finger-wagging from the curators. Not so as it happened, as there were several other enthusiasts in the Gallery photting away for all they were worth.

Wandering the Gallery, one thing that was immediately apparent; aside from Leiter’s paintings and black and white work, the colour images are glorious, with solid meaningful reds that even after two decades of digital photography, camera manufacturers still don’t seem to be able to emulate.

Beyond this, I’m not saying much. I’ve done what I can to correct the trapezoidal frames and made some comments in the captions. Otherwise, it’s just what you see.

You have a month left – don’t miss it.

  • pascaljappy says:

    Thank you, Paul. Leiter is one of my greatest sources of inspiration. As you say, raw, unfiltered genius. I would very much love to see the exhibition, though it’s unlikely, bit your post does a great job of giving us a great glimpse into it. May it infuse a little bit of the man’s talent and vision into us 😉

    • Paul Perton says:

      Thanks Pascal. It was a rare treat to see – and highly inspirational.

      • Jon Maxim says:

        I thank you too, Paul. Apart from knowing the name, I was unfamiliar with Leiter’s work and this gives me some insight. It reminds me a lot of an old French movie I have seen – Les Parapluies de Cherbourg – not just because of the umbrella shots, but he seems to have a similar aesthetic to that film.

  • Michael Keppler says:

    Even though I won’t have the chance to see the exhibition, thanks for sharing Paul. Definitely makes me want to look more into this great photographer. The colour images you show here are indeed spectacular. The old colour films, or at least these old prints, may not have had outstanding colour fidelity, but they had an incomparably beautiful look that could be used artistically. Wonderful.

  • Philberphoto says:

    Totally inspiring! But let’s not forget the messenger, and shoot him a few congrats! Because you let Leiter’s genius shine. And, for that, I thank you!

  • jeanpierreguaron660@gmail.com says:

    Try as hard as I can, Paul, I am unable to emulate the masters – all I can manage is my own personal level of talent, which isn’t a patch on this. But fortunately or otherwise, I won’t be able to see the exhibition myself – I am now at that awkward stage in life where all future international travel is kaput – I will never be able to do it again. So I am reliant on people like you for the “feed” – displays like this one. These days, so much is done for you by AI and the techo stuff, like the range of colours, contrast etc etc etc to the horizon is too. What the “greats” of the past managed, they did with cameras that might well be more difficult for modern photographers than Nikon’s Z8! And produced images that modern togs might every well be incapable of matching, just like me! At least, I’m going to comfort myself with that comment, anyway.

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