Elliott Erwitt

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Elliott Erwitt
Elliott Erwitt by Alessio Jacona (15554958273).jpg
Erwitt at the Leica Camera Jubilee 2014
Elio Romano Erwitt

(1928-07-26) July 26, 1928 (age 94)
Paris, France

Elliott Erwitt (born Elio Romano Erwitt, July 26, 1928) is a French-born American advertising and documentary photographer known for his black and white candid photos of ironic and absurd situations within everyday settings. He has been a member of Magnum Photos since 1953.

Early life[edit]

Erwitt was born in Paris, France, to Jewish-Russian immigrant parents, who soon moved to Italy. In 1939, when he was ten, his family migrated to the United States. He studied photography and filmmaking at Los Angeles City College and the New School for Social Research, finishing his education in 1950. In 1951 he was drafted into the Army, and discharged in 1953.

Photography career[edit]

Vienna 2012

Erwitt served as a photographer's assistant in the 1950s in the United States Army while stationed in France and Germany. He was influenced by 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. He then began a freelance photographer career and produced work for Collier's, Look, Life and Holiday. Erwitt was invited to become a member of Magnum Photos by the founder Robert Capa.[1]

One of the subjects Erwitt has frequently photographed in his career is dogs: they have been the subject of five of his books, Son of Bitch (1974), To the Dogs (1992), Dog Dogs (1998), Woof (2005), and Elliott Erwitt's Dogs (2008).[2]

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" — to "satirise the kooky excesses of contemporary photography." His work was published in a book, The Art of André S. Solidor (2009), and exhibited in 2011 at the Paul Smith Gallery in London.[2][3]

Erwitt was awarded the Royal Photographic Society's Centenary Medal and an honorary fellowship (HonFRPS) in 2002 in recognition of a sustained, significant contribution to the art of photography.[4] and the International Center for Photography's Infinity Award, Lifetime Achievement category, in 2011.[5]

Filmmaking career[edit]

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[clarification needed] 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).[6]

A collection of Erwitt's films were screened in 2011 as part of the DocNYC Festival's special event "An Evening with Elliott Erwitt".


Iconic photographs[edit]

  • USA, New York City, 1946 – Street-level shot comparing the size of a woman's feet to a chihuahua wearing a sweater.
  • 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.



  • 1972 – Photographs and Anti-Photographs ISBN 978-0500540091
  • 1972 – Observations on American Architecture ASIN B00A6V15X4
  • 1974 – Elliott Erwitt: The Private Experience (In the series "Masters of Contemporary Photography", text by Sean Callahan.) Los Angeles: Petersen. Sean Callahan describes and to some extent explains Erwitt's work. ISBN 0-8227-0070-0
  • 1974 – Son of Bitch, photographs of dogs ISBN 978-0670657223
  • 1978 – Recent Developments ISBN 978-0671246464
  • 1988 – Personal Exposures ISBN 978-0393026160
  • 1991 – On the Beach ISBN 978-2883300033
  • 1992 – To The Dogs ASIN B01FKWM9J2
  • 1993 – The Angel Tree
  • 1994 – Between the Sexes ISBN 978-0393036763
  • 1997 – 100+1 Elliott Erwitt ISBN 978-8878138094
  • 1998 – Dog Dogs A collection of black and white photographs of dogs Erwitt was intrigued by throughout his world travels.ISBN 978-0760723036
  • 1999 – Museum Watching ISBN 978-0714838946
  • 2001 – Snaps. London & New York: Phaidon. A large anthology (over 500 pages) of Erwitt's work. ISBN 0-7148-4150-1
  • 2002 – EE 60/60 ISBN 978-8480033299
  • 2002 – Elliott Erwitt's Handbook ISBN 978-0971454835
  • 2005 – Woof ISBN 978-0811851121
  • 2009 – Elliott Erwitt's Rome. teNeues Publishing ASIN B01K0U46MC
  • 2009 – Elliott Erwitt's New York ISBN 978-3832769253
  • 2010 – The Art of Andre S. Solidor aka Elliott Erwitt ISBN 978-3832793623
  • 2010 – Elliott Erwitt Personal Best ISBN 978-3832791629
  • 2011 – Elliott Erwitt, Sequentially Yours ISBN 978-3832795788
  • 2012 – Elliott Erwitt XXL – Special and Collectors Edition ISBN 978-3832796709
  • 2013 – Elliott Erwitt's Kolor Kempen, Germany: teNeues ISBN 9783832795771.
  • 2017 – Pittsburgh 1950 London. Gost. With an essay by Vaughn Wallace. Photographs made in Pittsburgh for Pittsburgh Photographic Library. ISBN 978-1-910401-12-5
  • 2018 – Elliot Erwitt's Scotland. teNeues Publishing Company ISBN 978-3961711369
  • 2021 – Found, Not Lost. London. Gost. ISBN 978-1910401316


In October 2020, Erwitt partnered with the digital collectible cards company Phil Ropy and created a card to raise awareness for Project HOPE's COVID-19 response. The picture on the card shows a pair of medical rubber gloves as a reminder of how exposed health care workers are and as an allusion to Project HOPE's logo.[17] The proceeds from the sales of the card are redistributed to the organization. [18][19]


  1. ^ Moakley, Paul. "Elliott Erwitt's Very Own Personal Best". Time.
  2. ^ a b Cripps, Charlotte (February 10, 2011). "A drastic change of image: Magnum photographer Elliott Erwitt has crafted a glorious alter ego". The Independent. Retrieved April 24, 2011.
  3. ^ "Who is André S. Solidor?". The Week. February 10, 2011. Retrieved February 24, 2011.
  4. ^ "Royal Photographic Society's Centenary Award". Archived from the original on December 1, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  5. ^ "Infinity Awards 2011". International Center for Photography. Retrieved March 16, 2014. Lifetime Achievement: Elliott Erwitt
  6. ^ "Elliott Erwitt". IMDb. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  7. ^ "Elliott Erwitt: Personal Best". International Center of Photography. February 23, 2016.
  8. ^ "New Orleans : Elliott Erwitt, Black & White and Kolor". L'oeil de la Photographie. June 17, 2016.
  9. ^ "Exhibition Presents Unprecedented Study of Renowned Photographer Elliott Erwitt's Life and Work". University of Texas Austin News.
  10. ^ "Elliott Erwitt: Pittsburgh 1950". International Center of Photography. March 7, 2018. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  11. ^ "Elliott Erwitt Photography Collection". Harry Ranson Center – University of Texas at Austin. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  12. ^ "The life and works of Elliott Erwitt – in pictures". The Guardian. August 14, 2016. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  13. ^ "Elliott Erwitt". International Center of Photography. July 15, 2018. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  14. ^ "Elliott Erwitt". Jackson Fine Art. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  15. ^ "Elliott Erwitt Collection". Met Museum. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  16. ^ "Elliott Erwitt". International Photography Hall of Fame. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  17. ^ Scott Latta (October 13, 2020). "Supporter Spotlight: Phil Ropy". Project HOPE.
  18. ^ Nadja Sayej (November 9, 2020). "Elliott Erwitt: 'Photography is pretty simple. You just react to what you see'". The Guardian.
  19. ^ Rosemary Feitelberg (October 19, 2020). "'Works of Imagination' Sale Features Work of Prized Photographers". WWD.

External links[edit]