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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Elliott Erwitt

Names:
Born: Elio Romano Erwitz 
Dates:  1928, 26 July -
Born:  France, Paris
Active:  US
Website:  www.elliotterwitt.com
 
  
American photographer and film maker.

Preparing biographies


Biography provided by Focal Press 
  
A Magnum photographer known as the master of the "indecisive moment," black and white images of animals and people, usually dogs. Erwitt has an instinctual knack for capturing the significance of the insignificant — the irrational absurdities, coincidences, and incongruities of daily life often with Chaplinesque humor. 
  
(Author: Robert Hirsch - Independent scholar and writer) 
  
Michael Peres (Editor-in-Chief), 2007, Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, 4th edition, (Focal Press) [ISBN-10: 0240807405, ISBN-13: 978-0240807409] 
(Used with permission) 
  

Further research

 
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Thumbnail
René De Carufel
Elliott Erwitt 
[The Photographer's Eye] 
2005, October
 
  
Family history 
  
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch. 
  
alan@luminous-lint.com
 
  
 
  

Exhibitions on this website

ThumbnailElliott Erwitt: A Survey 
PhVTitle | Lightbox | Checklist
 
  

Visual indexes

 
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Internet biographies

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Wikipedia has a biography of this photographer.Show on this siteGo to website
Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website
Grove Art Online (www.groveart.com) has a biography of this artist. 
[NOTE: This is a subscription service and you will need to pay an annual fee to access the content.]
Show on this siteGo to website
 

Internet resources

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Magnum Photos 
http://www.magnumphotos.com ... 
Probably the world‘s most famous photo agency for photojournalists. Use this site to access the portfolios, biographies of the many notable Magnum photographers. Where there are books by the photographers the website frequently includes the photographs used. 
  
 

Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

 
• Auer, Michele & Michel 1985 Encyclopedie Internationale Des Photographes de 1839 a Nos Jours / Photographers Encylopaedia International 1839 to the present (Hermance, Editions Camera Obscura) 2 volumes [A classic reference work for biographical information on photographers.] 
  
• Beaton, Cecil & Buckland, Gail 1975 The Magic Eye: The Genius of Photography from 1839 to the Present Day (Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown & Company) p.228 [Useful short biographies with personal asides and one or more example images.] 
  
• Capa, Cornell (ed.) 1984 The International Center of Photography: Encyclopedia of Photography (New York, Crown Publishers, Inc. - A Pound Press Book) p.174-175 
  
• Evans, Martin Marix (Executive ed.) 1995 Contemporary Photographers [Third Edition] (St. James Press - An International Thomson Publishing Company) [Expensive reference work but highly informative.] 
  
• International Center of Photography 1999 Reflections in a Glass Eye: Works from the International Center of Photography Collection (New York: A Bulfinch Press Book) p.214-215 [Includes a well written short biography on Elliott Erwitt with example plate(s) earlier in book.] 
  
• Lenman, Robin (ed.) 2005 The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford: Oxford University Press)  [Includes a short biography on Elliott Erwitt.] 
  
• Witkin, Lee D. and Barbara London 1979 The Photograph Collector’s Guide (London: Secker and Warburg) p.132-133 [Long out of print but an essential reference work - the good news is that a new edition is in preparation.] 
  
 

Useful printed stuff

If there is an analysis of a single photograph or a useful self portrait I will highlight it here.

 
• Gruber, Renate and L. Fritz Gruber 1982 The Imaginary Photo Museum (New York: Harmony Books) p.246-247 
  
• Szarkowski, John 1973 Looking at Photographs: 100 Pictures from the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art (New York: The Museum of Modern Art) p.194 [Analyzes a single photograph by Elliott Erwitt.] 
  

Collections

Photographic collections are a useful means of examining large numbers of photographs by a single photographer on-line. 
  

 
In the 1990 survey of 535 American photographic collections Elliott Erwitt was represented in 88 of the collections. Source: Andrew H. Eskind & Greg Drake (eds.) 1990 Index to American Photographic Collections [Second Enlarged Edition] (Boston, Massachusetts: G.K. Hall & Co.) 
  
 

Quotations

The wit and wisdom.

 
"After following the crowd for a while, I‘d then go 180 degrees in the exact opposite direction. It always worked for me, but then again, I‘m very lucky."
"It‘s about time we started to take photography seriously and treat it as a hobby."
"It‘s just seeing — at least the photography I care about. You either see or you don‘t see. The rest is academic. Anyone can learn how to develop. It‘s how you organize what you see into a picture."
"Making pictures is a very simple act. There is no great secret in photography…schools are a bunch of crap. You just need practice and application of what you‘ve learned. My absolute conviction is that if you are working reasonably well the only important thing is to keep shooting…it doesn‘t matter whether you are making money or not. Keep working, because as you go through the process of working things begin to happen."
"Nothing happens when you sit at home. I always make it a point to carry a camera with me at all times…I just shoot at what interests me at that moment."
"Now very often events are set up for photographers … The weddings are orchestrated about the photographers taking the picture, because if it hasn‘t been photographed it doesn‘t really exist."
"Quality doesn‘t mean deep blacks and whatever tonal range. That‘s not quality, that‘s a kind of quality. The pictures of Robert Frank might strike someone as being sloppy—-the tone range isn‘t right and things like that--but they‘re far superior to the pictures of Ansel Adams with regard to quality, because the quality of Ansel Adams, if I may say so, is essentially the quality of a postcard. But the quality of Robert Frank is a quality that has something to do with what he‘s doing, what his mind is. It‘s not balancing out the sky to the sand and so forth. It‘s got to do with intention."
"To me, photography is an art of observation. 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."
"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 comedy."
 
  
 
  
 
  
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