Tag Archives: Elliott Erwitt

“Quality doesn’t mean deep blacks and whatever tonal range. That’s not quality, that’s a kind of quality. The pictures of Robert Frank might strike someone as being sloppy–the tone range isn’t right and things like that–but they’re far superior to the pictures of Ansel Adams with regard to quality, because the quality of Ansel Adams, if I may say so, is essentially the quality of a postcard. But the quality of Robert Frank is a quality that has something to do with what he’s doing, what his mind is. It’s not balancing out the sky to the sand and so forth. It’s got to do with intention.”

Elliott Erwitt

“It’s about reacting to what you see, hopefully without preconception. You can find pictures anywhere. It’s simply a matter of noticing things and organising them. You just have to care about what’s around you and have a concern with humanity and the human comedy.”

Elliott Erwitt

MMPhoto by Elliott Erwitt

(some of these images – and many more! – are part of the exhibit Magnum on Set

“Photographing Marilyn Monroe on the set of The Seven-Year Itch in Times Square, New York, Erwitt plays at being the flâneur whose wanderings around the city are prompted by erotic opportunism. Here there is no need for a narrative, a diptych or trilogy that organises images into a short story. Monroe, unlike the characters in the other sequences, sticks to her assigned spot above the ventilation duct, and it is the frisky draught that introduces time and change into the scene as it plays with her dress and cools her private parts. In the film, the flapping of the white cloth is a hasty, dazzling blur, accompanied by Monroe’s squeals of embarrassed delight. The photographs slow the process down and savour each separate phase of it, protracting our pleasure. The result is an array of poems written with light, contrasting the self-conscious stance of the woman – those spread legs and taut ankles, the tossed head or the naughty bumping and grinding of her bottom – with the uncontrollable antics of the dress, which behaves in successive frames like a flaunting tail, an inverted flower, a soft shell or a billowing parachute. None of these arrested moments is decisive, as Henri Cartier-Bresson expected photographs to be, but they are all delicious. The wind is the joker, and its wit is lighter than air; sequential time is suspended, so there is no need for the smile to ever fade from our faces.”

Peter Conrad, for ‘The Observer