Helen Levitt (31 d'agost de 1913 - 29 de març de 2009) va ser fotògrafa estadounidenca.
Considerada una de las grans fotògrafes del segle XX, la seva obra més coneguda és en blanc i negre i en el gènere documental. Però també va fer, a les darreres dècades de la seva vida, fotografies i diapositives en color.
Nascuda a Nova York, va retratar els carrers i els habitants de la ciutat, sobre todo els nens. Alumna de Walker Evans i de Cartier-Bresson, va tenir el seu contacte amb el cinema i el documental a finals del sanys 1940 influïda per Luis Buñuel.
La seva obra es centra bàsicament en la ciutat de Nova York, tot i que tingué una sortida a Mèxic, que va quedar reflectida en un llibre.
During the early 1940's Helen Levitt made many photographs on the streets of New York. Her photographs were not intended to tell a story or document a social thesis; she worked in poor neighborhoods because there were people there, and a street life that was richly sociable and visually interesting. Levitt's pictures report no unusual happenings; most of them show the games of children, the errands and conversations of the middle-aged, and the observant waiting of the old. What is remarkable about the photographs is that these immemorially routine acts of life, practiced everywhere and always, are revealed as being full of grace, drama, humor, pathos, and surprise, and also that they are filled with the qualities of art, as though the street were a stage, and its people were all actors and actresses, mimes, orators, and dancers. Some might look at these photographs today, and, recognizing the high art in them, wonder what has happened to the quality of common life. The question suggests that Levitt's pictures are an objective record of how things were in New York's neighborhoods in the 1940's. This is one possible explanation. Perhaps the children have forgotten how to pretend with style, and the women how to gossip and console, and the old how to oversee. Alternatively, perhaps the world that these pictures document never existed at all, except in the private vision of Helen Levitt, whose sense of the truth discovered those thin slices of fact that, laid together, create fantasy. from "Looking at Photographs" by John Szarkowski
All images © Helen LevittFonte