Words elude when one tries to piece together the work of Saul Leiter, for his photographs are much like a mirage, like visual apparitions that tease, but don’t tell. His photos elude in the fact that they allude, in that they, in their use of dreamy colour and suggested subject matter, are a lot like free verse, reminding us of the familiar in unimaginably unfamiliar ways.
His genius is that he eludes, that one cannot pin him down. Colourist, sensualist, romanticist. Paintings, photographs. Painterly photographs. Painted-on photographs. But like all great pioneers, Degas, Vuillard, Matisse and Bonnard being his own heroes, Saul Leiter was someone who relentlessly continued to wander on the peripheries of tradition, to find his own path.