Elliott Erwitt was born in 1928 in Paris, spent his childhood in Milan, and in 1939 emigrated with his family to the United States. In 1951 he was drafted into the Army Signal Corps, during which he served as a photographer in Germany and France. Back in the United States, Erwitt met Edward Steichen, Robert Capa and Roy Stryker, the former head of the Farm Protection Administration in New York. Stryker hired Erwitt to work for the Standard Oil Company and then commissioned him on a massive Pittsburgh documentation project. In 1953 Erwitt joined the Magnum photo agency and also worked as a freelance photographer for Collier’s, Look, Life, Holiday and other famous publications. In the late 1960s, Erwitt became president of Magnum for three years.
Elliott Erwitt is known for his outspoken and often humorous black and white portraits, and he also owns world-famous portraits of such iconic 20th-century figures as Marilyn Monroe, Che Guevara and Richard Nixon. Throughout his successful career, the photographer has published many photo books, often focusing on dogs. «The work I do is terribly simple,» Erwitt remarked in 1988, «I watch, I try to have fun, but above all, I need images that represent emotions. There are a few other things that interest me in photography. «
Despite recurring criticism, Erwitt remains one of the most popular and famous photographers in the world, with his photographs included in many books and catalogues, and have also been shown in exhibitions around the world. The photographer was awarded the Royal Photographic Society’s Centenary Medal and Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS) in 2002 in recognition of his contributions to the art of photography. In 2011, he received the Professional Achievement Award from the International Center for Photography.