In 1948, he started taking color photographs. He began associating with other contemporary photographers such as Robert Frank and Diane Arbus and helped form what Jane Livingston has termed the New York School of photographers during the 1940s and 1950s.
Saul Leiter became better-known as a successful fashion photographer in the 1950s and 60s. All the while, he continued to stroll the streets wherever he was (mostly New York and Paris), making photographs for his own pleasure. He printed some of his black-and-white street photos, but kept most of his color slides tucked away in boxes. It was only in the 1990s that he began to look back at that remarkable color work and start to make prints. His sense of color and densely compressed urban life represents a truly unique vision of those times.
“I started out as a fashion photographer. One cannot say that I was successful but there was enough work to keep me busy. I collaborated with Harper’s Bazaar and other magazines. I had work and I made a living. At the same time, I took my own photographs," he told LensCulture.
“I spent a great deal of my life being ignored. I was always very happy that way. Being ignored is a great privilege. That is how I think I learnt to see what others do not see and to react to situations differently. I simply looked at the world, not really prepared for anything.”
(Photos © Saul Leiter Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York, via Wikipedia and LensCulture)