A few years ago I worked with film-maker Tomas Leach on a book for his documentary, In No Great Hurry1. The documentary is about the late Saul Leiter, a photographer who made the mundane magnificent.

His style is unique. He takes pictures of boring things: condensation on a window, red umbrellas, taxi cars. Moments of urban life we’d all find commonplace. His composition made these scenes hard to unpick, a tad abstract. It would take a few moments to work out what you were seeing.

That was part of the allure. Shooting in the 1950s and 1960s, he was also an early pioneer of colour photography, which would equally draw the eye after a century of black and white photography.

Saul’s photography was boring magic, without a doubt.

His style causes us to slow down, to take in more of our surroundings. Inspect the ordinary for shades of delight.

Often I wonder whether we should be doing that more. In many aspects of life. We needn’t always be in motion, always moving on to the next thing.

What if now is just enough?

I’m a person who likes to postpone things. I see no reason for being in a rush. When you consider many of the things that people treat very seriously, you realise that they don’t deserve to be treated that seriously. And many of the things people worry about are not really worth worrying about. If I didn’t do anything more than my little book, would that have been enough? – Saul Leiter

  1. Nothing came of the project, unfortunately. I experienced a severe bout of depression and couldn’t carry on. I really wish I had.