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Elliott Erwitt: Personal Best (Book Review)

Personal Best by Elliott Erwitt

It would be too easy to spin off the vast list of accomplishments and social connections of Elliott Erwitt (born in Paris, 1928 and raised in Los Angeles in the United States of America). At 84 years of age he is a master photographer with extensive credit and a professional pedigree as a photojournalist and advertising photographer that could sink the floating metaphor of a conceptual battleship. Magnum photographer since the 1960s, one-time magnum editor; still working today.

Elliott Erwitt took that famous photograph of Nixon poking Khrushchev in the chest in 1959. The smiling African American boy putting a toy pistol to his temple. The young boy looking out a car’s side window that appears to have a bullet hole in it. And dogs… Elliott Erwitt loved to take the most fascinating pictures of dogs and was known to bark at them on occasion to get their reaction. He also took a horn along on photojournalism assignments so he could get people to look at the camera.

In my world, Elliott Erwitt is one of the most impressive and influential photographers both of his generation and of photographers alive in 2012. He had a fantastic eye coupled with insight and a schoolboy’s sense of humour. When he appeared on the iconic photography television interview series Visions and Images with Barbaralee Diamonstein he showed the calibre of his mind as an artist. Thoughtful. Concise. Deliberate. There is also a great episode of the Contact Sheets series where Elliott Erwitt discusses the process and editorial selection of some of those important images.

I purchased my copy of Personal Best by Elliot Erwitt about a month ago. It is a heavy book with cardboard thick pages and black and white images you could figuratively die for bled through to the edges.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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