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Photo of the Week #48

Helen Levitt

Helen Levitt NYC 1942

Helen Levitt
NYC 1942


August 5, 2019
Helen Levitt's street photography had a special affinity for the summer months. The Lower East Side and Spanish Harlem were her favored neighborhoods owing to the fact that, in those years before the comforts of TV and AC, life spilled out onto the stoops, sidewalks, and streets as the temperature rose. 

This neatly composed picture exemplifies Helen's singular knack for capturing children, the quality her admirers most treasure. Each of the four girls on the right has her eyes fixed on the trail of bubbles floating in a mirror image to their left. It's easy to imagine this weightless parade of bubbles echoing the way children playfully drift through the long and aimless days of summer. Perhaps what makes this photograph so perfect is that there is no apparent source for these soapy visitors, imbuing this timeless scene with a feeling of quiet and gentle magic.
-Jacob Cartwright