A-to-Z Index

Elliot Erwitt

(1928 - present)



Erwitt is an advertising and documentary photographer known for his black and white candid images of ironic and absurd situations within everyday settings.   Erwitt was born in 1928 in Paris to Russian emigrant parents.  After living in France and Italy, his parents emigrated to the United States in 1939.  Erwitt studied photography at Los Angeles City College and the New York School for Social Research.  In the 1950s, Erwitt served as a photography assistant in the United States Army.    

The famous photographers, Edward Steichen, Robert Capa and Roy Stryker influenced Erwitt after meeting with them. Stryker, the former Director of the Farm Security Administration's photography department, hired Erwitt to work on a photography project for the Standard Oil Company. Erwitt then began a freelance photographer career and produced work for Collier's, Look, Life and Holiday.  Joining the Magnum Photos agency in 1953 allowed Erwitt to photograph projects around the world.  Since the 1970s, he has devoted much of his time toward movies. His feature films, television commercials, and documentary films include "Arthur Penn: the Director" (1970), Beauty Knows No Pain (1971), Red, White and Bluegrass (1973) and the prize-winning Glassmakers of Herat, Afghanistan (1977).

Exhibited Works

Ranch Boy with Father

Cracked Glass with Boy, Colorado

Jackie Kennedy at Funeral

Corning Salvation Army Couple

Pennsylvania Dutch and Adidas, Santa Cruz, USA

Hippie Couple, Corning

People and Statues on Beach, San Juan, Puerto Rico