Saturday, March 14, 2009

Elliott Erwitt- Contemporary, Documentary, and Journalist Photographer

He made one of the most eloquent photographs of the Kennedy Era
His most famous works are pure snapshots in between commercial shoots that are sometimes passed up by them.

Elliott Erwitt- for personal work he brings one small personal camera, Leica M3, easy enough to slip in his pocket.  For commercial shoots he brings his canon camera with a  variety of lenses. 

The famous kitchen debate
"I just shoot at what interests me in that moment"
One of Erwitt's all time favorite photos.
Capa had sold the idea of a 5 point series on children around the world so Erwitt took off to Wyoming and Colorado and photographed kids.
"I just shoot at what interests me in that moment" 

The first frame on the roll of film was blank. The second photograph became one of his most famous photographs.

His wife Lucienne and child.

My all-time favorite picture of his!
He considers every job a success if he gets one picture for himself.
His photography is very humerous.
He then sort of used the same concept for a shoe ad.
This was his first dog photograph published. 
Elliott Erwitt was born in 1928 in Paris. He grew up  in Milan, Italy then in 1939 emigrated to the US with his parents. Being a teenager in Hollywood he grew an interest for photography and attended the Los Angeles City College.  He did not receive his diploma due to failing gym class. 

When his parents separated he followed his Dad to New York City and exchanged janitorial work for film classes at the New School of Social Research. He met Edward Steichen who was the first person to take Erwitt's photography seriously. He was the first person to recognize his signature and was the only one to have sensitivity towards his photographs that lead him in the right direction.  The next step was to see Robert Capa, the dictator of Magnum photos.  Erwitt eventually became apart of Magnum photos, a cooperative photographic agency with offices located in New York, Paris, London filled with great diversity and distinction by its photography members. 

Before Erwitt became apart of Magnum Photos he was shipped off to Germany to help as a darkroom assistant. When he was stationed in Verdun it was there he met his future wife, Lucienne, and later had a baby with her. The series of photos taken with Lucienne and their child were the first to show Erwitt's intimate side. And one of those photos became one of his most famous. 

This display of intimate snapshots showed that Erwitt could convey such deep fundamental emotions with such perception that suggests that the images sprang from inner consciousness already made.

After the army was over they moved back to New York City and he got a job at Magnum photos under Robert Capa.  Capa had sold a 5 point series on children around the world to do a book on and Erwitt traveled to Wyoming and Colorado to take pictures of kids out west. 

The magazine Holiday always had a lot of work for Erwitt, especially wanting him to shoot a lot of restaurant stories. He considers every job a success if he gets one picture for himself.

In the pictures of animals Elliott does his photos in such a way that everybody recognizes the animals having human qualities.

Insightful quote:

 "I think all photographic assignments- bar none- are logical problems that have logical solutions. Photography is really very simple there are no great secrets in photography. Thats why I think schools are such a bunch of crap. The only important this is to keep shooting"
                                                                                                             -Elliott Erwitt

"this is a book of dogs in pictures, not a book of dog pictures" elliott erwitt  

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