Description

“Many of the dogs pictured must have looked appealing to me in their exotic settings, other dogs were appealing in reasonably well-composed photographs and some others seemed to transcend their easy obvious charm and to have allegorical connotations to us humans and our human condition. As I think about this now, my comments don’t sound particularly surprising. I don’t know of any other animals closer to us in qualities of heart, sentiment and loyalty. Some people say elephants come close. Personally, I find elephants too bulky, unwieldy and inaccessible for everyday photography and not at all cuddly or attractive with those big long noses. Besides, they do not roam the streets in every town and country like dogs do. And dogs make easy, uncomplaining targets without the self-conscious hang-ups and possible objections of humans caught on film.” –Elliott Erwitt

The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words.

Elliott Erwitt
© Elliott Erwitt | Magnum Photos

Born in Paris in 1928 to Russian parents, Elliott 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 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. Five years later, 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.

He has made significant bodies of work in America, Cuba, the UK, France, Italy and beyond. In the 1970s, he produced several notable documentaries and in the 1980s eighteen comedy films for HBO.

Erwitt has become known for benevolent irony, and for a humanistic sensibility traditional to the spirit of Magnum.

© Elliott Erwitt | Magnum Photos

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