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Helen Levitt

Helen Levitt is sometimes called "the most celebrated and least known photographer of her time." Her photographs received several solo shows while she was alive and today they circle the web, but her name is not one on the tip of your tongue when you start to name famous photographers who worked from the 1930s onward. Levitt grew up in Brooklyn and dropped out of high school to pursue photography, in the 1930s she was drawn to the transitory chalk drawings of New York's children street culture. This series of photographs of those chalk drawings and the children behind them formed her photography style. Although candid and always urban in setting, Levitt's photography has an artistic touch--she was also known as "New York's visual poet laureate." While she worked in color in later years, it is these early black and white photographs of children and chalk that are catching my eye this summer.