Elliott Erwitt was one of the first wave of American’s to join Magnum Photos. The son of Russian emigre’s, who had already lived in Milan and Paris before moving to the US in 1939. he had first taken up photography while living in Los Angeles. One of Erwitt’s most iconic images, it encapsulates his gentle humour, the photographer literally getting down to street level to capture the tiny chihuahua, in its tiny knitted jumper, alongside the giant feet of it’s female owner.

You just have to care about what's around you and have a concern with humanity and the human comedy.

Elliott Erwitt
© Elliott Erwitt | Magnum Photos

Dogs, whether, intentionally or not, have been a regular motif in Elliott Erwitt's photography over the years.

Said Erwitt of his enduring interest: "Until recently, I have never especially set out to take dog pictures but somehow dogs appeared in large numbers on my contact sheets. A few years back while looking through my inventory of pictures to assemble a retrospective book and exhibition of random photographs taken on my travels, I was surprised by the preponderance of dogs. Obviously, my sympathy for the creatures was deeper than I had imagined."

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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