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Elliott Erwitt

Born in Paris in 1928 to Russian parents, 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 photography 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.

 Erwitt traveled in France and Italy in 1949 with his trusty Rolleiflex camera. In 1951 he was drafted for military service and undertook various photographic duties while serving in a unit of the Army Signal Corps in Germany and France. 

 In 1953 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.

 To this day he is for hire and continues to work for a variety of journalistic and commercial outfits.

In the late 1960s Erwitt served as Magnum's president for three years.

He then turned to film: in the 1970s he produced several noted documentaries and in the 1980s eighteen comedy films for Home Box Office.

Erwitt became known for benevolent irony, and for a humanistic sensibility traditional to the spirit of Magnum.


Art Institute of Chicago, USA

Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France

Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA

New South Wales Museum of Art, Australia

The Barbican, London, UK

Camera Work, Berlin. Germany

NRW-Forum Düsseldorf, Germany

Kunsthaus, Zurich, Switzerland

Photokina, Cologne, Germany


2008   Elliott Erwitt's Dogs, teNeues, Germany

2008   Elliott Erwitt's New York, teNeues, Germany

2006  Personal Best, teNeues, Germany

2005 Woof, Chronicle Books LLC, USA

2003  Elliott Erwitt’s Handbook, The Quantuck Lane Press/W.W. Norton & Company, USA

2002  Snaps, Phaidon Press Ltd., USA

1999 DogsDogs, Phaidon Press Ltd., USA

1999 Museum Watching, Phaidon Press Ltd., USA

1994 Between the Sexes, W.W. Norton & Company, USA

1991 On the Beach, W.W. Norton & Company, USA

1992 To the Dogs, DAP/Scalo, Zurich

1988 Personal Exposures, W.W. Norton & Company, USA

1974  Son of Bitch, Viking, USA

1972  Photographs and Anti-Photographs, New York Graphic Society, USA


Elliott Erwitt