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Elliott Erwitt
Elliott Erwitt by Alessio Jacona © cc-by-sa-2.0
Elliott Erwitt
Elliott Erwitt

Elliott Erwitt

Country: France
Birth: 1928

Born in Paris in 1928 to Russian parents, Erwitt spent his childhood in Milan, then emigrated to the US, via France, with his family in 1939. As a teenager living in Hollywood, he developed an interest in photography and worked in a commercial darkroom before experimenting with photography at Los Angeles City College. In 1948 he moved to New York and exchanged janitorial work for film classes at the New School for Social Research.

Erwitt traveled in France and Italy in 1949 with his trusty Rolleiflex camera. 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.

While in New York, Erwitt met Edward Steichen, Robert Capa and Roy Stryker, the former head of the Farm Security Administration. Stryker initially hired Erwitt to work for the Standard Oil Company, where he was building up a photographic library for the company, and subsequently commissioned him to undertake a project documenting the city of Pittsburgh.

In 1953 Erwitt joined Magnum Photos and worked as a freelance photographer for Collier's, Look, Life, Holiday and other luminaries in that golden period for illustrated magazines. To this day he is for hire and continues to work for a variety of journalistic and commercial outfits.

In the late 1960s Erwitt served as Magnum's president for three years. He then turned to film: in the 1970s he produced several noted documentaries and in the 1980s eighteen comedy films for Home Box Office. Erwitt became known for benevolent irony, and for a humanistic sensibility traditional to the spirit of Magnum.

Source: Magnum Photos

 

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As an optometrist and photographer, Larry is avid supporter of Seva Canada, an international non-profit organization who is a part of VISION 2020, the global initiative for the elimination of preventable and avoidable blindness in the world by year 2020. Source: www.larrylouie.com Interview with Larry Louie All About Photo: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer? Larry Louie: I knew when I was about 16 when I received my first real camera and I was experimenting exposures. AAP: Where did you study photography? LL: Self taught. AAP: Do you have a mentor or role model? LL: I do not have a mentor, but I have master photographers whose work I greatly admire and I study their amazing portfolio of works: Josef Koudelka, Sebastiao Salgado, James Natchwey. AAP: How long have you been a photographer? LL: I have been regularly photographing since 18 years of age but in regards to the documentary work, only for the last 8 years. AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it? LL: My first shot that I liked was the color image of 2 women taken in Jodphur, India. I call it the Blue City image because of the predominating blue color of the city. This image was placed second in a National Geographic Traveler magazine photo competition. AAP: What or who inspires you? LL: Great work that has passion in the subject. That is why I like the works of the above artists I mentioned. AAP: How could you describe your style? LL: I like B&W documentary work that evokes one's curiosity about mankind and his struggle with the surrounding environment. AAP: Do you have a favorite photograph or series? LL: I like 2 of my latest series: "A Working Day in Dhaka" and my latest series "Tondo, Manila" (will be up on the web within this month). AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? LL: I use Canon 5D Mark3 bodies, 24mm f1.4 prime lens, 85mm f/1.2 prime lens, and 24-105mm f/4 zoom lens. AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose? LL: I don't do too much editing. I do not crop my images and very minimal photoshop besides converting it into black and white and some burning and dodging. I do most of my editing the week after I return on a trip. The images are used for my website, to produce prints, calendars for fund raising purposes. AAP: What are your projects? LL: Please go to my website. My latest projects have been concentrated on the working poor and people who are stuck in the bonds of poverty, especially children born into poverty and child laborers. AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)? LL: Josef Koudelka, Sebastiao Salgado, James Natchwey. AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer? LL: Photograph what gives you passion. The best work will come through. Shoot, shoot, shoot. AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid? LL: Being cliché. One should be original. AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share? LL: My wife and I are working presently with an organization named "Philippines Community Fund" whose goal is through education to enable a generation of children to escape from the cycle of poverty to which they are born into, and in doing so create a better and more sustainable life for them and their family. PCF today funs a four storey school in Tondo, Manila providing education, food, healthcare, and other support services for nearly 600 children from the nearby garbage dump and cemetery. AAP: Your best memory as a photographer? LL: To be able to help and raise funds and bring attention to issues that makes a significant difference in the lives of the people we photograph. AAP:The compliment that touched you most? LL: A thank you and a smile from the people who we touched during our visits and who in return touched us with their graciousness. AAP:If you were someone else who would it be? LL: I am happy with who I am and what I do. AAP: Your favorite photo book? LL: "The Sahel" by Sabastiao Salgado. AAP: Anything else you would like to share? LL: No, I would like to thank you for your interest in my photography.
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