Edward Steichen, Flatiron, 1904
An exquisite, moody, delicate coloured photo by a trained painter. Timelessly romantic, but taken when the building was strikingly modern, having only been erected a couple of years earlier. I haven’t seen a better photograph of this building since
Washington Square Park, 1957
Taken from his apartment window, so minimal effort from the photographer, but a beautiful, timeless, carefully-composed shot that still gets me out into the park during our rare snowy days
Child in a Nightgown, 1957
A delicate, dreamy moment captured in half light.
Beachy Head Boat Trip, 1967
A wonderful scene that transforms the prosaic to something iconic and theatrical: the young lovers oblivious to and ignored by the older people surrounding them, the rather bored captain on a routine outing, and the photographer hiding in plain sight – almost, as the lady in the background gives him a severe, quizzical look.
Girl With Kitten, 1960
The enigmatic young woman photographed in London has never been identified.
Rainswept roofs, 1937
I could have included many Brandt photos in this list, especially his wonderfully grimy, grainy industrial pictures, but this one intrigued me. It is wrongly captioned and possibly wrongly dated in his archive. After some obsessive searching, I have found the location and will try to recreate this shot.
Walk with Soames, 1958
Saul Leiter’s exquisite use of colour, his bold, almost abstract composition, and the sense of compressed urban life from his use of long lenses are remarkable. Also a painter, he cites Degas as his inspiration but he was a true master of the poetic photographic image.
The Ladies on the Bench, 1964
The master of street photography, again hiding in plain sight to capture this delightfully busy scene that suggests but never confirms the links between the subjects.
Girl on bus looking out at snow, 1967
A perfect unique moment when the photographer happened to be sitting on a bus near the young woman and the well-spaced group of passengers outside are struggling against the winter storm.
James Dean in Times Square, 1955
The young photojournalist’s iconic shot of the not yet famous actor. Great setting, composition, mood. Had he been famous, I think he would have shot closer, to the detriment of the photo, losing the leading lines of the railing and the dark reflection in the puddle. And would this photograph still retain its impact without that cigarette?