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Elliott Erwitt

ICP Photographers Lecture Series: Elliott Erwitt

Date Nov 16, 2005

Born in Paris of Russian parents, Elliott Erwitt emigrated to the US with his family in 1939. He studied photography in Los Angeles City College (1942-1944) then film at the New School for Social Research ( 1948- 1950). After serving as a photographic assistant in the United States Army Signal Corps in Germany and in France, Erwitt met Edward Steichen, Robert Capa and Roy Stryker, former head of the Farm Security Administration in 1950 and worked under him for Standard Oil Company.

From 1950 to 1952, Erwitt was a freelance photographer for Collier's, Look, Life and Holiday. He became a associate member of Magnum Photos in 1953 and a full member in 1954.

Erwitt has shot journalistic essays throughout the world and numerous commercial assignments for Air France, KLM, Chase Manhattan Bank, among many others.

Since the 1970s, he has turned much of his energy toward movies. His feature films, television commercials and documentaries include Beauty Knows No Pain (1971), Red, White and Bluegrass (1973) and Glassmakers of Herat, Afghanistan (1977).

Following the publication of his book Son of Bitch, he became famous as a maker of funny pictures where dogs play the starring role, and his work has been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide. Erwitt’s books include Recent Developments, Personal Exposures, On the Beach, Between the Sexes, Museum Watching, Dogs, Dogs, Elliott Erwitt’s Hand Book and Snaps. Erwitt’s photographs have been exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art, the Chicago Art Institute, the Smithsonian Institution, the Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Kusthaus (Zurich), the Reina Sofia Museum (Madrid), and the Barbican Center (London), among others.

Elliott Erwitt’s website is