The early series

« I started with the Subway Series in 1946 and would occasionally shoot in Penn Station until 1958 when I did it full time. I loved the place and what was happening there. It was a spacious and dramatic arena where people in the act of traveling went through a mixture of excitement, a silent patience for waiting, and an honest fatigue. My fellow human beings are my main subject matter. When they travel, people are “on the big stage” so to speak. At heart, my life’s work with the camera is to interpret the world around me through my own personal vision. » LS
Selected series :

City in black & white

« New York City is where I have lived for most my life, amidst the smoke, fumes, the bustle and the still moments or stray corners that have sometimes touched eternity. It has shaped and formed me and I in turn have constantly sought to come to grips with its significance as a place and above all, with the people that live in it. My photographs are acts of eloquent homage and deep remorse about the City. I am profoundly moved by its lyric beauty and horrified by its cruelty and suffering. » LS

Selected series :

The european experience

« I came to Paris in July 1947, intending to stay only three weeks and remained for five years. I do not know how it happened that way. When you love someone or something, it is hard to explain why. Is it because we are too close? Perhaps there are too many complex reasons why. Eventually, I realized the compelling attraction of Europe. In the States the past is completely obliterated by the present. What is new, happening now, has significance. What is old is irrelevant. Whereas as here in Europe, the past dominates the present. A huge conglomeration of old stones permeates everything, giving a reassurance; a secure feeling that life is a very difficult business going on for a very long time and that we humans have managed to survive. I also felt so completely at home here. And life was not easy at the time. » LS
Selected series :


« In 1974, I started going into factories to photograph workers. I was moved to do this series because people spend most of their time at work, but very few artists follow them there. I also wanted to contribute to the great American tradition of photographing labor done before me by Jacob Reiss and Lewis Hine. I also felt very strongly about working people. They produce everything around us: clothing, food, shelter, yet they were at the bottom of the ladder. Politically they had little power. Economically, they were underpaid if not exploited. It seemed as if there was very little social justice as far as workers were concerned…Yes, my Workers series is my paean of praise, a long heroic poem in homage to working and salaried people everywhere. It was as if I wanted the lyricism of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel brought down to earth, finding it in the everyday factory. » LS

Selected series :

Life in nature

« I go as if on a pilgrimage to photograph nature, wanting more to commune with her than succeed with her. She gives so much one feels the need to reciprocate. You portray her in gratitude. Nature is already an elaborate work of art that seems finished but is constantly growing, transforming itself.

Nature is the great paradox: very physical yet life in its most spiritual form. It never stops trying to communicate to us. Trees are its favorite antennae. We have only to immerse ourselves in forest or ocean to become revitalized for living in the city. » LS

Selected series :

In color

Selected series :

Life in the abstract

« A wall is something you build and forget about, take for granted. In our order of things, we give it a role to play and then forget about it. Actually, it is very alive; it is falling apart, it is unsteady, impermanent.

The Manhattan Wall Series, taken in 1990, was my farewell to New York. It took over five months. The walls were like the skin of a person; they looked permanent but could be very transitory. After a few days of wind or rain, glued posters and signs were either gone or something else. Returning to New York after a few years, I had found the walls had changed in character, become more gentrified, lacking in expressiveness. Also, the photographs of the walls seemed to change with the years. I imagine that they just might come into their own (like the laundry women of Picasso’s Blue Period) more alive than ever, when the very walls they sprang from no longer existed. Life keeps flowing on, transforming, rejuvenating or decaying. Such is both art and life, always changing in surprising and mysterious ways. » LS

Selected series :

The flea market

« You surprise us, with Les héros du métro in 1990, to show us your drawings in which you place metro tickets. The following year… you buy old photographs a stone’s throw from your home at the flea market Clignancourt. “Lost objects in search of a new status, merchandise orphaned by memories seeking the imprint of a new owner. Once purchased, it is yours. » You take hold of the known and unknown history of the document chosen and purchased, you transform it, retouch it, extend its evocative power or act as if it were a blank sheet of paper, you paint, you place real objects… Do you distance reality and open the door to dreams, a new, more plastic orientation to your research? » – Michelle Auer, Sophisme
Selected series :


« No matter how intimate, how well you know a person, you can never tell how a portrait will turn out. Almost as if a human being is so complex, we can never hope to grasp him fully, nor can he or she ever hope to be aware of their total being.

There is also the relationship between photographer and his subject. No one looks at another person in exactly the same way. I wanted everything to come from him, his eyes, facial expression, his body.

One also hopes for the impossible, by some miracle the portrait will not only be alive with the person’s inner being, but also have significance for everyone else. In other words, the portrait takes on implications beyond the particular human being, becoming a universal statement. Something we needed but did not know it. » LS

Selected series :