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Project of the Day: A Camera-Shy Photographer Shoots NYC for 70 Years

Project of the Day: A Camera-Shy Photographer Shoots NYC for 70 Years

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95 Lives: Helen Levitt

Tweetable Logline:

Uncovering Helen Levitt: a camera-shy photographer hits the NYC streets for 70 years, transforming American street photography forever.

Elevator Pitch:

Before street photographers took Manhattan by storm, there was Helen Levitt. An artistic pioneer and the ultimate photographer’s photographer, Levitt lived as a total enigma, determined to dodge the public eye in favor of what she loved most: poker, baseball, and, above all, capturing the city at play. 95 Lives searches for the many, colorful lives of this female pioneer and the formidable contributions she made to 20th century art and to the city that shaped her incredible body of work: New York.

Production Team:

Director: Tanya Sleiman
Director of Photography: Frazer Bradshaw (“Everything Strange and New,” “Babies,” “These Amazing Shadows”)
Sound Artist: Kent Sparling (“The Virgin Suicides,” “Lost in Translation,” “Marie Antoinette,” “Adaptation”)

About the Production:

“I launched this project when I first met Helen Levitt in 2008. Then I began production in 2009 in New York with contemporary street photographers and conducted interviews with artists, friends of Helen Levitt, and scholars related to the story. I wanted to make this film because I was gripped by the story of a fiercely independent woman who found magic in 1930’s Harlem with a used camera. How did she earn the unofficial title “visual poet laureate of New York” as the most celebrated yet least known photographer of her time?” – Tanya Sleiman

Current Status:


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