Master Photographers: Elliott Erwitt

Elliott Erwitt was born in Paris but emigrated to the US in 1939. He initially worked as a photographer's assistant in the US Army before starting as a freelance photographer. He produced work for Life magazine amongst many others, and joined the Magnum agency in 1953. Although he travelled a lot in Europe and the US, he eventually settled in New York and many of his images are from it's streets.

The standout themes for me in Erwitt's street photography are his sense of humour, and his interest in dogs which became the subject for many of his books. He often includes both in an image. He manages to find the absurd amongst everyday life, and makes compositions that emphasise or create the story he wants to tell.

Image by Elliott Erwitt, copyright Magnum Photos

Image by Elliott Erwitt, copyright Magnum Photos

He has stated that he didn't particularly plan his shots, just went out onto the streets to see what they would have in store for him.

Image by Elliott Erwitt, copyright Magnum Photos

Image by Elliott Erwitt, copyright Magnum Photos

He often beautifully captures an interplay, whether actual or implied, between people, animals or objects.

Image by Elliott Erwitt, copyright Magnum Photos

Image by Elliott Erwitt, copyright Magnum Photos

One of the greatest street photographers and an inspiration to many, especially here in New York.