Love at first sight


I am branching out a bit here – not much – it is still photography related, cinematography.  Now, I love films and the cinema and I often tweet about films I have seen and enjoyed but I can’t remember feeling compelled to bang on about a film quite as much as I do about Carol.  Carol is the latest release from Todd Haynes and it is a wonderful film, if you have not seen it then do, just go, I am sure you will enjoy it.  It is enjoyable for many reasons, but what really struck me was the influence on the film of photography, specifically a photographer whose work I love – Saul Leiter.


Carol (left) Saul Leiter (right)


The influence is stated and write about in plenty of places, so this is not an original observation, but the look and feel of the film, the colours, the lighting, the street scenes, the interiors and the way the film is framed have so many similarities I came away feeling as though I had just watched a film by Saul Leiter.

Windows is a theme that crops up again and again, people seen through windows, faces through glass, condensation, reflections. Glimpses of people through gaps, verticals breaking the frame, silhouettes.  Cars, views from cars/views into cars, cars moving through the city.


Carol (left) Saul Leiter (right)


The image that stuck with men the most is when we see Carol (Cate Blanchet) through a dirty window, wearing red, in soft focus through the blue of the glass. She then walks out into the golden sunlight and the streets of New York, 1950’s Saul Leiter New York, and it looks glorious.  The cinematography is by Edward Lachman (so I will be sure to look up other films he has been involved in) and has many such moments, this is just the one I remembered most vividly.


Carol (left) Saul Leiter (right)


Carol (top) Saul Leiter (bottom)


Saul Leiter’s pictures can be seen at a small exhibition in Somerset House that makes the point I have been trying to here.

There will also be a retrospective of his work at the Photographers Gallery in January 2016.

Lastly a shout out for another lovely film that was out last year, ‘In No Great Hurry’ which is a documentary/interview with the man himself.

Below are two images from the book ‘Saul Leiter – Early Colour’ (Steidl)