Helen Levitt, best known for her photography of street life in her native New York City, died Sunday at age 95. According to this notice from powerHouse Books, which published a number of Levitt books in recent years, the photographer passed away in her sleep at her home in Manhattan.
A native of Brooklyn, Levitt spoke with the old-fashion New York accent now heard only in old movies. She taught herself photography while working for a commercial photographer, and in 1937, while teaching art to children, she took notice of the chalk drawings that symbolized the sidewalk life of the city. A bought a Leica and began photographing the drawings. Edward Steichen curated her first solo exhibition, at the Museum of Modern Art, in 1943.
As her work was rediscovered in recent years, so was the street culture that once, in the days before air conditioning and video games, defined the look of New York City. Continue on to read the entire powerHouse release.--David Schonauer