Natalia's Learning Portfolio

HELEN LEVITT

 

Helen Levitt was born on August 31, 1913, in Brooklyn, New York

She was known for her captures of children and captivating portraits of New York urban life.

She was also one of the first photographers to work with color.

Levitt died on March 29, 2009, in New York, New York.

Her interest in photography began in 1931; she learned darkroom technique while working for a portrait photographer, and by age sixteen had decided to become a professional photographer.

She was especially inspired by the photographs of Walker Evans and Henri Cartier-Bresson, both of whom became friends.

In 1939, her images began appearing in magazines such as Fortune, U.S. Camera, Minicam, and PM. Beaumont and Nancy Newhall mounted her first solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1943. Three years later, Levitt was granted a photography fellowship by the museum.

Her work found devoted advocates in Walker Evans and James Agee, the latter of whom wrote the text for A Way of Seeing (produced in the 1940s, but not published until 1965), a monograph containing many of her best-known images.

Levitt received a Guggenheim Fellowship and was a National Endowment for the Arts Photography Fellow; in 1997, she received ICP’s Master of Photography Infinity Award.

 

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