Elliott Erwitt bore witness to some of the 20th century’s most important events. He photographed Marylin Monroe, Jack Kerouac and Che Guevera. He was present at President Kennedy’s funeral and on the set of numerous classic movies during the 50s and 60s.
But he’s equally well known for his photographs of ordinary people. Some of his best loved images are of everyday moments lit up by flashes of passion and absurdity: lovers caught kissing in a rear-view mirror; an umbrella-wielding Parisian leaping over a puddle in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.
Erwitt’s playfulness is built upon a deep appreciation of the moment and how to capture it. He once said “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 condition.”
Born on 26 July 1928 in Paris to Russian parents, Erwitt spent his childhood in Milan before moving to New York to escape the outbreak of the Second World War. Now 86, he still spends his days taking pictures in the Big Apple. Next month, he is due to receive the Outstanding Contribution to Photography prize at the Sony World Photography Awards. He’s also the subject of a special exhibition at Beetles and Huxley, Elliott Erwitt: Double Platinum, which focuses on two rarely seen aspects of Erwitt’s work: his platinum prints and his photographs of Marilyn Monroe. The photographs on this page are taken from the latter exhibition.
The exhibition will run from Wednesday 29 April to Wednesday 27 May 2015 at Beetles and Huxley, 3-5 Swallow Street, London W1B 4DE.