Elliot Erwitt • Photographer Profile • Magnum Photos

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"It's about reacting to what you see, hopefully without preconception. 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"

- Elliott Erwitt

b. 1928


Based in New York, USA


Available for commissions
& assignments

Born in Paris in 1928 to Russian parents, Erwitt spent his childhood in Milan, then emigrated to the US, via France, with his family in 1939. As a teenager living in Hollywood, he developed an interest in photography and worked in a commercial darkroom before experimenting with photography at Los Angeles City College. In 1948, he moved to New York and exchanged janitorial work for film classes at the New School for Social Research.

Erwitt traveled in France and Italy in 1949 with his trusty Rolleiflex camera. In 1951, he was drafted for military service and undertook various photographic duties while serving in a unit of the Army Signal Corps in Germany and France.

While in New York, Erwitt met Edward Steichen, Robert Capa and Roy Stryker, the former head of the Farm Security Administration. Stryker initially hired Erwitt to work for the Standard Oil Company, where he was building up a photographic library for the company, and subsequently commissioned him to undertake a project documenting the city of Pittsburgh.

In 1953, Erwitt joined Magnum Photos and worked as a freelance photographer for Collier’s, Look, LIFE, Holiday and other luminaries in that golden period for illustrated magazines. To this day, he is for hire and continues to work for a variety of journalistic and commercial outfits.

In the late 1960s, Erwitt served as Magnum’s president for three years. He then turned to film: in the 1970s, he produced several notable documentaries and in the 1980s eighteen comedy films for HBO. Erwitt became known for benevolent irony, and for a humanistic sensibility traditional to the spirit of Magnum.

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Selected works


Between the Sexes

Taken from a selection of pictures from over his career, photographer Elliott Erwitt examines how gender perceptions differ around the globe

Open story

From the Magnum Shop

Most Recent

Current Exhibition
Toulon, France

‘Dog Dogs’ in Toulon

Elliott Erwitt
Until Sep 1

Arts & Culture

The Art of Looking at Art

Elliott Erwitt

Current Exhibition
New York, United States

Elliott Erwitt: Pittsburgh 1950

Elliott Erwitt
Until Sep 2

Past Exhibition
Paris, France

Home, Paris

Magnum Photographers
Until Jun 19 · Free

Current Exhibition
Orléans, France

New Orleans in Orléans

Magnum Photographers
Until Sep 16

Past Exhibition
London, United Kingdom

Magnum Photos at Photo London 2018

Magnum Photographers
Until May 20

Current Exhibition
, Cyprus

Meditations: Touring Exhibition in Cyprus

Magnum Photographers
Until Aug 29

Arts & Culture

The Benevolent Voyeur

Elliott Erwitt

Current Exhibition
Madrid, Spain

Players. Magnum Photographers Come Out to Play

Magnum Photographers
Until Sep 16 · Free

Past Exhibition
Vannes, France

Magnum on Stage at Vannes Photo Festival

Magnum Photographers
Until May 13


The Magnum Digest: February 25, 2018

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The Magnum Digest: February 18, 2018

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Arts & Culture

The Year of the Dog Dogs

Elliott Erwitt

Theme | 20 Stories

Photobooks of 2017

Theme | 19 Stories

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