A Way of Seeing.
Photographs of New York by Helen Levitt with an essay by James Agee.
New York, The Viking Press, 1965
This book was born in 1945 when Levitt and Agee worked together on In the Street, a documentary film shot in Harlem. The photographs were mostly taken on the streets of Harlem, with some on the Lower East Side in the late 1930s and 1940s, and Agee wrote the text in the mid-1940s. Publication was planned for 1946 by Reynolds and Hitchcock but postponed and cancelled following the death of one of the firm's partners. The project remained unrealised until 1965, ten years after Agee's death when The Viking Press published a Way of Seeing. In his essay Agee writes:
'At least a dozen of Helen Levitt's photographs seem to me as beautiful, perceptive, satisfying, and enduring as any lyrical work that I know. In their general quality and coherence, moreover, the photographs as a whole body, as a book, seem to me to combine into a unified view of the world, an uninsistent but irrefutable manifesto of a way of seeing, and, in a gentle and wholly unpretentious way, a major poetic work.'
First edition; oblong 8vo (190 x 228 mm, 7½ x 9 in); black-and-white photographs printed in gravure, design by Marvin Hoshino; black cloth-covered boards, titles stamped in white on spine and front, photo-illustrated dust-jacket, lightly toned, minor cockling, stain to spine on verso, fine in a very good dust-jacket; [viii], 78, pp.
Regards sur un siècle de photographie à travers Le Livre, 134; The Book of 101 Books pp178–9; The Photobook A History, I pp252–3; The Open Book pp252–3; 802 photo books from the Auer collection p447; What They Saw: Historical Photobooks by Women 1843-1999 pp167-168.
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