Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The "Indecisive Moment," Erwitt, New York, and the 1950's

Elliott Erwitt was born in France in 1928. He is known for his absurd black and white candid shots. If Henri Cartier-Bresson was the master of the "decisive moment" then perhaps Erwitt was the master of the "indecisive moment." His shots are very random and often a little strange. The photo to the right was taken in 1956 in New York City and is one of his most famous. It depicts a chihuahua in a sweater compared in size to a woman's feet; a scene which is a bit out of the ordinary. Erwitt has a deep passion for dogs and children and both are featured frequently in his photos.

Erwitt moved to America when he was 10. He initially lived in New York and then his family moved to Los Angeles. Erwitt eventually moved back to New York and settled there. As a freelance photojournalist and he took photos for many different publications including Collier's, Look, Life and Holiday. He was asked to join Magnum photos in 1953 (a photo agency Bresson is also a member of). Joining Magnum allowed Erwitt to take photos all over the world. Other credits to his name include the production of 17 comedy/satire televison programs for HBO and being the author of 18 photography books. To this day he is still involved in projects for various publications.

Elliott Erwitt's absurd look at life and his eye for catching moments even many photojournalists might miss has made him a very important character in the development of photography as a "fine art." Erwitt has also been a key photographer in the development of the more creative style of photojournalism today and daily life photography.

1 comment:

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