Photography icon Elliott Erwitt has died at the age of 95

Minneapolis, MN, USA. 29th Oct, 2010. JEFF WHEELER
Elliott Erwitt at a retrospective of his work in Minneapolis in 2010 (Image credit: Alamy/Jeff Wheeler)

The legendary Elliott Erwitt, one of the greatest photographers of our time, has died aged 95.

He was a world-renowned photographer who inspired generations with his unique and often humourous approach to capturing the world around him. Erwitt's career spanned over 70 years, documenting American life, world events, celebrities and, of course, his most famous subjects, dogs. His unique way of seeing the world stood out in his images, leading to global appeal and his work being exhibited and published worldwide. 

Erwitt got his start in photography after being drafted for military service and undertook various photographic duties while serving in a unit of the Army Signal Corps in Germany and France. 

From there he was primarily a photojournalist and joined Magnum Photos in 1953, where he photographed some of the most famous faces and world events including Marylin Monroe, Che Guevara, and John F Kennedy. In the late Sixties, Erwitt served as Magnum's president for three years before branching out to explore motion pictures. 

New York City, 1974 (dog legs) (Image credit: Elliott Erwitt / Magnum Photos)

New York City, 2000 (Image credit: Elliott Erwitt / Magnum Photos)

Erwitt's career led him to publish twenty books, four of which were on dogs – a subject with which he has become synonymous. His ability to be present in a scene and capture a decisive moment was on par with the very best, if not, better than. 

His work had an element of humor and fun, which gives the viewer a sense of who he was, as though he was enabling us to see the world how he did. "Erwitt employed dedication in seeking out the most absurd and the charming moments of life," wrote Magnum.

California, 1955. (Image credit: Elliott Erwitt / Magnum Photos)

Umbrella Jump in Paris, France 1989 (Image credit: Elliott Erwitt / Magnum Photos)

Erwitt and his work have been awarded countless awards and accolades throughout his long career, with the most recent coming just over a month ago when he was inducted into the Leica Hall of Fame. This year Leica also awarded one of his images Leica Picture of the Year, highlighting that even today his work is considered among the best. The accompanying exhibition is currently on display at the Leica Gallery in Wetzlar, Germany, until the end of January 2024.

Elliott Erwitt's work has and will continue to be an inspiration to many, and will forever be imprinted on the history of photography. His pictorial humor and ability to capture a scene was a talent not often seen, which is why he will always be remembered as a legend of the medium.

See where Erwitt ranks among his peers in the 50 best photographers ever

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Kalum Carter
Staff Writer

Kalum Carter is a UK-based photographer, writer, and photo editor. Kalum has been working as a freelance photographer for the best part of ten years, covering a wide range of assignments for well-known brands and publications in areas including portraiture, fashion, and documentary. 

Between commercial assignments, Kalum is currently working on a personal photography project exploring his connection to the Gower region of South Wales UK, as part of an MA in Photography from The University of West England.