Elliott Erwitt was born in Paris to
Russian émigré parents on 26th July 1928. His formative years were
spent in Milan. At the age of 10 his family moved back to Paris,
only to immigrate to New York a year later, before transferring to
Los Angeles in 1941.
In 1948 by good fortune while looking for work on exploratory
trips to New York City, Erwitt met Edward Steichen, Robert Capa and
Roy Stryker who liked his photographs and took a personal guiding
interest becoming significant mentors. The following year he
returned to Europe travelling and photographing in Italy and France
thus marking the start of his professional career. Drafted in to
the US Army in 1951 he continued taking photographs for various
publications totally apart from his military duties while stationed
in New Jersey, Germany and France.
In 1953 freshly decommissioned from military service, Erwitt was
invited to join Magnum Photos as a member by its founder Capa. In
1968 he became President of the prestigious agency for three terms.
To date he continues to be one of the leading figures in the
competitive field of photography. His journalistic essays,
illustrations, and advertisements have been featured in
publications around the world for over half a century.
Erwitt's rarefied ability to instinctively visualise and capture
an insightful image has resulted in some of the most iconic and
powerful photographs of our time, including the incredibly poignant
portrait of Jackie Kennedy at her husband's funeral, and intimate
shots of Marilyn Monroe on the set of The Misfits. While actively
working for magazine, industrial and advertising clients Erwitt
devotes all his spare time toward creating books and exhibitions of