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Synopsis: Since the mid-1930s, Helen Levitt has photographed life on the streets of New York, capturing the pulse of the city at moments when sidewalk life becomes an urban portrait. Crosstown is the most comprehensive monograph devoted to this master photographer. In pioneering pictures of 1930s and 1940s Harlem, an innovative color series completed in 1960, and black-and-white images from the 1980s and 1990s, the book reveals the changes in New York street culture as well as the evolution of Levitt’s photographic eye.
From Francine Prose’s introduction to Crosstown: Photographs by Helen Levitt:
Look at a Helen Levitt photo, and the city streets, subways, and rooftops become pure Helen Levitt. Encountering Levitt’s pictures, taken mostly between 1936 and the present, mostly around Manhattan, is like taking off your sunglasses, or cleaning your spectacles, or just blinking, which is only appropriate, since so many of them seem to have been taken in a blink, and to picture something that will be gone, that was gone, a blink after it was taken. These photographs radically readjust our visual fine-tuning to remind us of how rapidly everything changes, of how large a fraction of what we see won’t exist in its present form only a heartbeat from now. It’s impossible not to notice that the beautiful gypsy kid, caught in mid-motion in the doorway of his apartment, was disappearing even as his portrait was being taken....
The photographs in Crosstown make the difficult look easy. They seem so effortlessly right that it’s only when you think for two seconds, or recall all the bad documentary photography that you’ve seen, or pause to marvel at the high wire act they’re performing even as they focus steadfastly on the ground, that you realize how frighteningly simple it would be to get all of this terribly wrong, to make the children cute and the old ladies darling. Helen Levitt’s work is never sentimental, it never estheticizes or objectifies, never turns its subjects into art objects, never distorts them into noble heroes of poverty and desolation; it is never falsely, preemptively elegiac or nostalgic. You never feel the artist calling attention to herself or to the breadth and compassion of her vision. Everything is happening too quickly — and too interestingly — for anything remotely resembling self-conscious artiness, or narcissism.
About the Author: Helen Levitt (1913-2009) had her first solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1943. Levitt’s photographs appeared in Edward Steichen’s landmark 1955 show The Family of Man and in more recent exhibitions of great importance, including MoMA’s Photography Until Now and the National Gallery of Art’s On the Art of Fixing a Shadow in Washington, D.C., both celebrating the invention of photography. She has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the International Center of Photography, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Levitt’s reputation as New York City’s master street photographer was further cemented in 2001 when her photographs were featured in the opening sequence of Ken Burns’ acclaimed PBS documentary series, New York. The author of the critically acclaimed, best-selling monographs Crosstown, Here and There, and Slide Show (powerHouse Books, 2001, 2004, and 2005), Levitt lived and worked in New York City, naturally.
Publisher: powerHouse Books
Publication Date: 2001
Book Condition: Used: Good
Book Description powerHouse Books, NY, 2001. Hard Cover. Book Condition: Very Good. Spine is slightly faded. Bookseller Inventory # 00039746
Book Description powerHouse Books. Hardcover. Book Condition: Fine. 1576871037 Clean hardcover book, barely cover wear. DAILY SHIPPING!!. Bookseller Inventory # 10516-151C
Book Description powerHouse Books, New York, 2001. Cloth. Book Condition: Very Good Plus. First Edition. First printing in very good plus condition. The printing on the spine is rubbed and faded, but in all other respects, this book is in fine condition. Pale grey silk covers with stamped titles in darker grey, and a pasted on cover photograph of a woman peering into the window of a taxicab, and dressed in an outfit that coordinates with the cab's design. Introduction by Francine Prose. Limited first printing of 6,000 copies. Street photographs captured by the eye and camera of a great artist. Mostly black and white, with some color photos later in her carreer. 189 pp. Art, Photography, Street Photography, Levitt, New York, Limited Edition. Size: 4to - over 9¾" - 12" tall. Limited Edition. Bookseller Inventory # 007895
Book Description powerHouse Books, New York, 2001. Cloth. Book Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: No DJ as Issued. Helen Levitt Photos (illustrator). First Printing 2001 Stated. 192 pp., 44 color and 131 tritone mostly single page photo reproductions. Retrospective collection of b/w and color photographs by celebrated New York street photographer Levitt. The b/w images, beautifully reproduced in fine-screen tritone, were made between 1936 and 1948, and, including the color photographs, after 1959. Five page introductory essay by Francine Prose. A Near Fine, apparently unused copy from the initial limited printing of 6000 copies. Very slight soil in lower front corner of cover; otherwise, AS NEW with clean, bright pages, free of markings. Without DJ as issued, but now protected in a clear mylar cover. Light gray cloth covers with tipped in photo at center, and title in dark gray lettering. PL0068 Size: 11 3/8 x 9 1/4 Inches. Bookseller Inventory # 10-400861
Book Description powerHouse Books 2001-10, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: good. 1576871037. Bookseller Inventory # 623865
Book Description powerHouse Books, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Great condition with minimal wear, aging, or shelf wear. Bookseller Inventory # P021576871037
Book Description powerHouse Books, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: Like New. Almost new condition. Bookseller Inventory # P011576871037
Book Description powerHouse Books, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111576871037
Book Description powerHouse, New York, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: Fine. First Edition, First Printing Stated. Pale grey cloth, b/w plate mounted to upper board; 4to; pp. 189, reproducing the artist's b/w and color photographs. Fine. Bookseller Inventory # D9142
Book Description powerHouse Books. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1576871037 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW6.0767747