William Witt

1921 - 2013 · United States

Artist biography

Crafting a love song to New York City in each frame, American photographer William Witt had a remarkable eye for the subtleties of life in the bustling metropolis.

Capturing everything from the bucolic to the somber, the universal to the intimate, Witt had the ability to capture seemingly spontaneous shots that nevertheless each told such powerful stories. Particularly captivating was the way he could play with the distance between himself, his camera, and the subjects of his work. The intimate framing Witt gives each of his photographs allows us a view into his world, but the anonymous faces, turned backs, and distracted crowds remind us we will never really know the energy of these scenes.

Born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1921, Witt trained as a photographer at the Art Students League under the watchful eye of masters such as Hans Hoffman. He found a particular attraction to the work of the famed photographers of the Farm Security Administration in the aftermath of the Great Depression and thus set out to conjure a related sense in his shots of the city. His photographs today are the treasures of collections both private and public, including the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

William Witt

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