“To me, photography is an art of observation,” said Erwitt. “It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
Elliott Erwitt is widely recognised for his versatility in photography. While famous for intimate photographs of people and dogs, Erwitt is also respected for his work as a photojournalist. Among the iconic moments he captured with his camera are the Khrushchev-Nixon “Kitchen Debate” in 1959, and Jacqueline Kennedy at the funeral of her husband in 1963.
Erwitt is also celebrated for his portraits. These include shots of subjects such as Grace Kelly, Alfred Hitchcock, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, and Che Guevara.
Born Elio Romano Erwitz in Paris in 1928, Erwitt spent his childhood in Italy, France, and the United States. After moving to Los Angeles in 1941, Erwitt began working in a commercial darkroom processing photographs of movie stars. In New York, Erwitt met Robert Capa, who in 1953, invited him to join Magnum Photos.
During the 1940s and 1950s, when many photographers followed established guidelines for exposure, focus, and composition, Erwitt developed his own ideas. With an incisive, humanistic sense of observation and finely honed wit, he illuminated the small moments of life, even when covering major news events.
A substantial retrospective exhibition of Elliott Erwitt’s work is currently on view at the International Center of Photography (1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street, New York) until August 28, 2011. The exhibition includes more than a 100 of Erwitt’s images, a selection of his documentary films produced over the past sixty years, as well as some previously unseen and unpublished prints from his early work.
For more info, visit: www.icp.org.