Description

In September 1950, 22-year-old Elliott Erwitt stepped off a Greyhound bus in Pittsburgh and, new to the city, took a small, rented room at the YMCA downtown. The Paris-born Erwitt had traveled to Pittsburgh from New York at the invitation of Roy Stryker, the former head of the Information Division of the federal government’s Farm Security Administration.

Pictures have to do with heart and mind and eye and they have to communicate and as long as they do that, it’s valid

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. A mere 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 U.K., 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. To this day, he is for hire and continues to work for a variety of journalistic and commercial outfits.

© Elliott Erwitt | Magnum Photos

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