“Since I’m inarticulate, I express myself with images.”

Helen Levitt, 1913 – 2009, American, photographer, street photography

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Noted for “street photography” around New York City, and has been called “the most celebrated and least known photographer of her time.”

Dropping out of high school, she taught herself photography while working for a commercial photographer. Using East Harlem and the Lower East Side of New York City as frequent settings, Levitt caught the humor, frustration and delight of everyday life, particularly among the city’s poor. She was quick to recognize an extraordinary scene and quick to react. She took pictures of kids playing with chalk.  “People think I love children, but I don’t,” Levitt said in a 2001 interview with the New Yorker magazine. “Not more than the next person. It was just that children were out in the street.”

She pioneered the street photography in the United States in the 1930s, taking pictures, with all the drama with the help of an inconspicuous Leica camera that she bought. She never got married. She had a brother named William. When she was 80 years old, she got an award. The award was accompanied by a major exhibition of her work, “Crosstown”  http://meganhayek.blogspot.com/2010/09/hellen-levitt_21.html