Elliott Erwitt is one of the most respected Twentieth Century photographers. This Autumn, a set of editioned 30x40 platinum prints from four of Erwitts best known images will be available for purchase in the UK for the first time at Magnum Print Room
Shown in the context of a broader selection of fine photographs drawn from Erwitts distinguished career, the selection includes photographs of racial segregation in North Carolina (1950), a kiss reflected in the wing mirror of a car (California, 1955), glamorous movie star Marilyn Monroe (New York, 1956), and one of his best loved pictures of the relationship between man and dog, Felix, Gladys and Rover (New York, 1976). Launched at this years Rencontres dArles in July, the four platinum prints were produced in May 2010 using cutting edge technology.
Erwitts archive includes classic photojournalism and film star portraits from Hollywood and Magnums golden age in the 1950s, along with more personal documentary, observational work and witty sequences, often including one of his favourite subjects, dogs. A master of the one-liner, Erwitt is as unpretentious and eloquent as are his photographs, which communicate an infectious joie de vivre.
Other well-known images by Erwitt included in this exhibition as signed silver gelatin prints include portraits of Marlon Brando (1954), Grace Kelly (1956), Sophia Loren (1962) and Che Guevara (1964), a selection of his best known dog images and evocative, stolen moments, such as, a couple dancing in the kitchen in Spain (1952), a dove taking flight (1955), and a mother (his then wife) and baby (1953).
Using a new technique developed by the specialist printmaker Arkady Lvov and digital printing expert Gabe Greenberg over eight years, Erwitts platinum prints were produced using the latest Large Format Photo Negative application from HP. Of these prints, made in Lvov and Greenbergs New York studios, Erwitt says:
When you put the platinum prints side by side with silver prints you see the difference. The platinum is more lush. The tonality is creamier. Platinum printing is the Rolls Royce of photographic reproduction and has traditionally been limited to modest dimensions. These new, large-format platinum prints, with their unusual size, are a Rolls Royce and Ferrari combined. They are a new way of seeing and experiencing familiar iconic images.
Born in 1928 to Russian parents in Paris, Elliott Erwitt spent his childhood in Milan, Italy, before immigrating to the United States. As a teenager in Hollywood, he developed an interest in photography and worked in a commercial darkroom in his spare time. In 1948 he moved to New York where he took film classes, subsequently travelling to Italy and France in 1949. In 1951 he was drafted for military service and undertook various photographic duties while serving in a unit of the Army Signal Corps in Germany and France. He joined Magnum in 1953 at the invitation of Robert Capa.
While actively working for magazine, industrial and advertising clients, Erwitt devotes all his spare time toward creating books and exhibitions of his work destined for galleries and museums. To date he is the author of over 20 photography books and has exhibited at major institutions and galleries around the world.
Now in his 80s, Erwitt continues to travel widely and produce both personal and commercial work. This year alone he has shot campaigns for San Pellegrino, Tods and the Puerto Rico Tourism Board. Recent books include Rome and The Art of André S. Solidor in 2009, his exhibitions Dog Dogs and his Retrospective continue to tour widely.