06 December, 2013 — 02 March, 2014
Elliott Erwitt is the photographer who notices details that most people miss, situations before they occur. “There is really nothing mysterious about photography”, Elliott explains. “It’s about observing. Often it’s a matter of luck and circumstance. Hopefully I haven’t taken my best picture yet.”
There are motifs everywhere
The exhibition at Fotografiska offers our visitors a unique opportunity for to acquaint themselves with one of the world’s most acclaimed photographers and see what he has captured. So far.
Elliott Erwitt (Elio Romano Erwitz) was born in Paris in 1928 to Russian immigrants. Some days before the start of the Second World War, his family escaped to the United States and settled in Los Angeles. When Erwitt decided to become a photographer he also took the decision to move to New York. After a year in the army, he began to work as a freelance photographer and in 1954 he became a full member of the legendary photojournalist cooperative Magnum. In 1955 he was one of the photographers in the famous The Family of Man exhibition.
In a career spanning close to 65 years, Elliott Erwitt has produced celebrity portraits, advertising commissions, photo reportages from Europe, the United States, Japan and Cuba plus all the private images that he exhibits around the world. “There are motifs everywhere; you just have to be observant and care about what’s going on around you. A picture that engages you, that makes you think, that gives you some kind of emotion, makes you laugh or cry. That’s a good picture.”
A master portraitist, Elliott Erwitt has photographed John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Jack Kerouac, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Akira Kurosawa and Andy Warhol, among others. He claims that taking pictures of celebrities is no different than taking pictures of non-celebrities, except that celebrities sell better. He is perhaps best known for his often humorous images of dogs. “The best thing with dogs is that they are everywhere, they are sympathetic, they never complain and they never ask for prints”, Elliott says.
Today his images can be seen in museums and important collections all over the world. But he has not slowed down; he continues to do commercial work and take pictures for new books. So far he has produced some 45 titles. “I like to see my photos in books. It’s an acknowledgement of my work.”
“I want to evoke emotion with my photographs, to make people either laugh or cry. If you can achieve that I think you’ve done well”, Elliott Erwitt explains.
The documentary I Bark at Dogs (11:34 min, 2011) is screened December 6-15 at Fotografiska.