In the 1990s Elliot Erwitt was increasingly showing the images that put him squarely in the firmament of the revered period of fine art photography in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Many of these images had not been seen since that time.
They demonstrate a conscious breaking of the rules for the then-contemporary photographic standards – perfect exposure, full tonal range, sharp focus, traditional composition – coupled with an existential “tough love” treatment of America, cloaked in the aura of the film noir motion pictures of the period that hung over this generation of photographers.
Like his peers of that time, there is the unselfconscious striking out to create a deliberate style or signature of his own. With that in mind, “Personal Best” gathers together many of Erwitt’s most remarkable images alongside many that have never before been published.