Elliot Erwitt

Some people think I’m dead, because I’ve been around so long/ Elliot Erwitt.

Elliot Erwitt is one of the most remarkable and probably recognizable photographers of the 20th century. If you have never heard about him, well, shame on you! But you have definitely seen his images that are mainly ironic and full of satire. And of course he has become known as an author of the most famous images of celebrities including Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and many others. Do you remember that very popular shot when Monroe was posing during the Seven-Year Itch shooting? It was taken by Erwitt. In fact Erwitt is one of the most remarkable photographers who followed principles of Cartier-Bresson’s “decisive moment”.

Elliot Erwitt was born in 1929 in Paris to a family of poor Russian refugees. His family spent some time living in Italy but because of political situation they had to leave the country. In 1938 Elliot along with his family left Europe for the USA. He studied photography and film making in New York City and in Los Angeles.

Erwitt started his career as an assistant in the 1950s. At the time he met Edward Steichen and Robert Capa. Later he worked for Collier’s, Look, Life and Holiday. In 1953 Erwitt become a member of Magnum Photo. Membership of Magnum Photo allowed him to travel around the world and take pictures.

Many of his pictures are pure absurd. Once he said, “It’s about reacting to what you see, hopefully without preconception. You can find pictures anywhere. It’s simply a matter of noticing things and organizing them. You just have to care about what’s around you and have a concern with humanity and the human body”.

Not many have known that Erwitt has been working as a filmmaker since 1970s. His works include Arthur Penn: the Director, Beauty Knows No Pain, Glassmakers of Herat, Afghanistan and some others.


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