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 Elliott Erwitt  (1928 - )

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Lived/Active: New York / Italy/France      Known for: city scene photography, documentaries, freelance

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Elliott  Erwitt
An example of work by Elliott Erwitt
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Elliott Erwitt (b. 26 July 1928 Paris, France) is an advertising and documentary photographer known for his black and white candid shots of ironic and absurd situations within everyday settings— a master of Henri Cartier-Bresson's "decisive moment".

In 1939, at the age of ten, Erwitt with his family, of Russian origin, immigrated to the United States. Erwitt studied photography and film making at Los Angeles City College and the New School for Social Research, finishing his education in 1950.

Born in Paris of Jewish-Russian immigrant parents, Erwitt served as a photographer's assistant in the 1950s in the United States Army while stationed in France and Germany. Erwitt was influenced by his meeting the famous photographers, Edward Steichen, Robert Capa and Roy Stryker. Stryker, the former Director of the Farm Security Administration's photography department, hired Erwitt to work on a photography project for the Standard Oil Company. Erwitt then began a freelance photographer career and produced work for Collier's, Look, Life and Holiday. Joining the Magnum Photos agency in 1953 allowed Erwitt to shoot photography projects around the world.

One of the subjects Erwitt has frequently photographed in his career is dogs: they have been the subject of four of his books, Son of Bitch (1974), Dog Dogs (1998), Woof (2005) and Elliott Erwitt's Dogs (2008).

More recently, Erwitt has created an alter ego, the beret-wearing and pretentious André S. Solidor (which abbreviates to "ass") — "a contemporary artist, from one of the French colonies in the Caribbean, I forget which one", in order to "satirize the kooky excesses of contemporary photography". The work of said alter-ego was published in a book, The Art of André S. Solidor (2009) and exhibited in 2011 at the Paul Smith Gallery in London.

He was awarded The Royal Photographic Society's Centenary Medal and Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS) in recognition of a sustained, significant contribution to the art of photography in 2002.

Since the 1970s, he has devoted much of his energy toward movies. His feature films, television commercials, and documentary films include Arthur Penn: the Director (1970), Beauty Knows No Pain (1971), Red, White and Bluegrass (1973) and the prize-winning Glassmakers of Herat, Afghanistan (1977).

He was, as well, credited as Camera Operator for Gimme Shelter (1970), Still Photographer for Bob Dylan: No Direction Home (2005), and provided Addition Photography for Get Yer Ya Ya's Out (2009).

A collection of Erwitt's films were screened in 2011 as part of the DocNYC Festival's special event "An Evening with Elliott Erwitt". Erwitt was himself profiled in a documentary film, which appeared in the same festival, titled Elliott Erwitt: I Bark at Dogs - directed by Douglas Sloan (filmmaker).[4]

Notable photographs
    •    USA, New York City, 1946 - Streetlevel shot comparing the size of a woman's feet to a sweatered chihuahua.
    •    USA, North Carolina, Segregated Water Fountains, 1950.
    •    USA, New York City, 1953 - Image of Erwitt's wife looking at their baby on a bed lit by window light.
    •    USA, NYC, Felix, Gladys, and Rover, 1974 - Image of a woman's booted feet between that of a Great Dane's legs and a little chihuahua.
    •    USSR, Russia, Moscow, Nikita Khrushchev and Richard Nixon, 1959 - Powerful Cold War image in which Nixon is poking his index finger at Khrushchev's suit lapel.
    •    USA, California, 1955 - Image of a side-view mirror of an automobile parked facing a beach sunset, with a playful couple shown in the mirror as the focal point.

    •    Photographs and Anti-Photographs, 1972.
    •    Observations on American Architecture, 1972.
    •    Elliott Erwitt: The Private Experience. (In the series "Masters of Contemporary Photography", text by Sean Callahan.) Los Angeles: Petersen, 1974. ISBN 0-8227-0070-0 Sean Callahan describes and to some extent explains Erwitt's work.
    •    Son of Bitch, 1974. Photographs of dogs.
    •    Recent Developments, 1978.
    •    Personal Exposures. 1988.
    •    On the Beach, 1991.
    •    To The Dogs, 1992.
    •    The Angel Tree, 1993.
    •    Between the Sexes, 1994.
    •    100+1 Elliott Erwitt, 1997.
    •    Dog Dogs, 1998 A collection of black and white photographs of dogs Erwitt was intrigued by throughout his world travels.
    •    Museum Watching, 1999.
    •    Snaps. London & New York: Phaidon, 2001. ISBN 0-7148-4150-1 A large anthology (over 500 pages) of Erwitt's work.
    •    EE 60/60, 2002.
    •    Elliott Erwitt's Handbook, 2002.
    •    Woof, 2005.
    •    Elliott Erwitt's Rome:teNeues Publishing, 2009
    •    Elliott Erwitt's New York', 2009
    •    The Art of Andre S. Solidor aka Elliott Erwitt, 2010
    •    Elliott Erwitt Personal Best, 2010
    •    Elliott Erwitt, Sequentially Yours, 2011
    •    Elliott Erwitt XXL - Special and Collectors Edition, 2012

"Elliott Erwitt", Wikipedia, //

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Following is a description from the International Center of Photography for an exhibition of work by Elliott Erwitt.

Elliott Erwitt: Personal Best

MAY 20–AUGUST 28, 2011

This major retrospective showcases the career of photographer and filmmaker Elliott Erwitt, the recipient of this year's ICP Infinity Award for Lifetime Achievement. Distinguished as both a documentary and commercial photographer, Erwitt has made some of the most memorable photographs of the twentieth century, including portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy, and Che Guevara, as well as astonishing scenes of everyday life, filled with poetry, wit, and special sense of humor.

Born in Paris in 1928 to Russian émigrés, Erwitt grew up in Italy and France and emigrated to America with his family in 1939. An active photographer since 1948, Erwitt sought out Edward Steichen, Robert Capa, and Roy Stryker in New York in the early 1950s, and they became his mentors. With Capa's encouragement, Erwitt joined Magnum Photos in 1953.

Erwitt is both an eyewitness to history and a dreamer with a camera, whose images have been widely published in the international press and in more than twenty books. On view are over 100 of his favorite images from the past sixty years, as well as some previously unseen and unpublished prints from his early work.

Online Source:

Biography from
Born on July 26, 1928, in Paris, Elliott Erwitt spent his childhood in Milan, Italy. His family moved back to Paris in 1938, and immigrated to New York the following year and then moved to Los Angeles in 1941.

His interest in photography began while he was a teenager living in Hollywood. While attending Hollywood High School, he began working in a commercial darkroom in 1944. In 1948 Erwitt moved to New York City where he met Edward Steichen, Robert Capa and Roy Stryker. After spending the year 1949 traveling in France and Italy, Erwitt returned to New York and began working as a professional photographer. Drafted into the army in 1951, he continued to take photographs while stationed in Germany and France

Elliott Erwitt was invited to join Magnum Photos in 1953 by Robert Capa. A member of the prestigious agency ever since, Erwitt has served several terms as its president. One of the leading figures in the competitive field of magazine photography, Erwitt has had journalistic essays, illustrations and advertisements featured in publications around the world for more than forty years.

While continuing his work as a still photographer, Erwitt began making films in 1970. His documentaries includes Beauty Knows No Pain (1971), Red White and Bluegrass (1973) made with the assistance of an American Film Institute grant, and the prize winning Glass Makers of Herat (1977). Erwitt has produced seventeen comedy and satire specials for Home Box Office.

Erwitt has had one-man exhibitions in numerous museums and galleries around the world including New York's Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Institution, the Art Institute of Chicago, Paris' Museum of Modern Art, Zurich's Kunsthaus and Cologne's Photokina.

Several editions of a large retrospective exhibition based on his book Personal Exposures have been touring the United States Europe and Japan since 1989. Other exhibitions in circulation around the world, include "To The Dogs", "On The Beach" and "Museum Watching." A major exhibition of Erwitt's Photographs dating from 1946 to 2001 opened at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid July 2002 quickly followed by one at the Spazio Oberdan in Milan Italy. A new exhibition based on his book Personal Best is scheduled for spring 2007 in Tokyo and will travel afterward to various Asian and European venues.

Presently Elliott Erwitt is archiving his massive collection of works while keeping active in the Editorial and Advertising fields.

Based in New York City, Elliott Erwitt travels obsessively.
He likes children and dogs.

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