“PHOTOGRAPHS are often treated as capturing important moments,” the photographer Saul Leiter once said, “but they are really small fragments and memories of the world that never ends.”

Leiter lived in New York’s East Village from 1952 until his death in 2013. His painterly shots of post-war New York – a catalogue of frozen moments and passing street scenes that capture the quiet grace and beauty of the big city – were ignored for years until his work began to be noticed in the 1980s, though it is only in the last couple of decades that his work has been truly re-evaluated and appreciated.

But Leiter could live with the indifference. “I’ve enjoyed having books. I’ve enjoyed looking at paintings. I’ve enjoyed having someone in my life that I care about who cares about me. I attached more importance to that than I did to the idea of success.”

Taken from Forever Saul Leiter, published by Thames & Hudson on Thursday, £19.99. © Saul Leiter Foundation