Helen Levitt, the Brooklyn photographer who pioneered street photography as an art in the 1930s, died Sunday of respiratory failure at her apartment in New York. She was 95. Levitt bought a used Leica in 1936 and, adding a right-angle lens, was able to fool her subjects into thinking she wasn’t photographing them. In the late ’30s she studied with Walker Evans and, in 1943, Edward Steichen curated her first solo show at the Museum of Modern Art. A lot of Levitt’s work involved kids caught off-guard. “She recognized real, formative moments in a child’s life,” said Arthur Ollman, onetime director of the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego. “She saw the dignity of children; they were not strange ‘other’ beings to her.” Levitt told the New Yorker in 2001 that “people think I love children, but I don’t. Not more than the next person. It was just that children were out in the street.” Do yourself a favor: Read this obit and Google Helen Levitt’s work.
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