Elliott Erwitt : Observer

‘To me, photography is an art of observation.’ Elliott Erwitt

Elliott_Erwitt_photo_Jacksonville_1968

Photo © Elliott Erwitt / Jacksonville, Florida / 1968

For a long time Elliott Erwitt has been one of my heroes. And while he’s best known for his humorous dog pictures, the range of his photography is much broader than that.

Mr Erwitt likes his pictures (or snaps as he sometimes calls them) to speak for themselves. So when he talks about photography, it’s worth listening. On looking and observing, I’d like to quote him in full – ‘To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place…I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.’

It didn’t take long to find two of his photos that illustrate the point. In both cases the subject matter is mundane, but the images hold my attention and I keep going back to them.

Elliott_Erwitt_photo_gloves_hanging_on_a_line

Photo © Elliott Erwitt / Sicily, Italy / 1965

How does he do it? Is there a recipe that can be copied or adapted? For better or worse, I don’t think there is. Both of these images are well lit and simply composed, but that alone doesn’t explain why they work so well as photographs. I agree that clear observation is a key element in photography, but great images don’t give up their secrets that easily.

What do you think – about photography in general and Elliott Erwitt in particular? I’m interested to hear your views.

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4 Responses to “Elliott Erwitt : Observer”
  1. Terry Wildey says:
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