Elliott Erwitt was born in Paris in 1928 to Russian émigré parents and spent his childhood years in Milan. In 1940, his family immigrated to New York, settling in Los Angeles a year later. While attending Hollywood High School he worked in a commercial darkroom processing “signed” prints for fans of movie stars.
In 1948, Erwitt met Edward Steichen, Robert Capa and Roy Stryker all of whom would become significant mentors. Drafted into the US Army in 1951, he continued taking photographs for various publications while stationed in New Jersey, Germany and France. In 1953, Capa invited Erwitt to join Magnum Photos. He later served three terms as president of Magnum beginning in 1968. During the 1970s, Erwitt began making documentary films. He also produced 17 comedies and special satire programs for Home Box Office in the 1980s. Despite this hectic schedule, he found the time to publish over 20 photography books. At 84, he continues to photograph and publish.
Elliott Erwitt’s photographs are in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Chicago Art Institute, The Smithsonian Institution, the Centre Pompidou, Paris; The Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid; The Barbican, London; The Royal Photographic Society, Bath; The Museum of Art of New South Wales, Sydney; The Spazio Oberdan, Milan, and many others.