Description

Elliott Erwitt photographed Marilyn Monroe a number of times over her career and was well aware of her rocky temperament. But it wasn’t his way to “smarm up” to celebrities, treating them the same as he would any other subject. Though he has taken some of the most iconic images of the last half century, Erwitt is always matter-of-fact about his process: “You just walk around and look at things and try to put them in the frame. And hope that you will have got something.”

I like to take pictures that are worthy of the time spent and the subjects.”

Elliott Erwitt

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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