Arthur Leipzig took his photographs in a very casual and honest aspect. He didn’t stage any of them, and he refused to tamper with the surroundings. As a result, he was able to capture the naturally beautiful reactions of the subjects in his images. While this holds true, a handful of the people in Leipzig’s pictures did notice that he was photographing them, so they did look his way in acknowledgment. This may have influenced the direction in which some of them gazed, but it did not take away from the emotion and significance of the moment.
Arthur Leipzig photographs his subjects with great crispness and clarity as to make them appear still, even though many were action shots. Taking most pictures from hip level or below, he presented the view of looking up to his subjects or simply being equal with them. This shows a sense of appreciation for his peers and a way to connect with them. Not limiting himself to only hip-level shots, Leipzig did take many photos from far above the subjects too. This offered a new overhead angle and a new way to look at people and the world around them. Furthermore, Leipzig’s decision to print his images in black and white gave the pictures a simplistic beauty in which viewers could only guess at how they would appear in color.
In order to take some of my own photographs to compare to those of Arthur Leipzig, I made use of the energy of Ann Arbor as a college town. I used what was available to document various forms of social interaction, daily life, work, and poverty. I also explored some of the more low key areas of Ann Arbor as to discover parts of the city I was not familiar with. By doing so, I had the opportunity to record a wide gamut of people and social groups. In order to work in a similar style to that of Leipzig, I took my photographs from a low viewpoint, trying to stay around hip level. I also used a black and white style to match his technique. Moreover, I attempted to emulate part of Arthur Leipzig’s approach in Growing Up in New York while also adding my own nuances to it.
Play and Work