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Elliot Erwitt Snaps Paperback – June 1, 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Haunting, absorbing, evocative and sometimes funny.'

'An essential career-spanning retrospective that reveals Erwitt's unassuming wit, brilliant framing and deep humanity.'

'Rare among photographers, Erwitt can make you laugh out loud (just turn to pages 86-87), but his scope is Tolstoyan. This 550-page retrospective will absorb you for years.'

About the Author

Elliott Erwitt is one of the most prestigious photographers in the world. A street photographer legend, he is best known for his black and white candid shots of ironic and absurd situations within everyday settings - a master of Henri Cartier-Bresson's "decisive moment."

Charles Flowers is an author, opinion columnist, and theater and art critic. He has been publishing in the "New York Times", "The Virginia Quarterly Review", and "City Newspaper".

Elliott Erwitt is one of the most prestigious photographers in the world. A street photographer legend, he is best known for his black and white candid shots of ironic and absurd situations within everyday settings - a master of Henri Cartier-Bresson's "decisive moment."

Flowers is a freelance editor and writer. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Vanderbilt University, and he received his M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Oregon.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; First Thus edition (June 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071484330X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714843308
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 2.2 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #827,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in 1928 to Russian Jewish parents in Paris, legendary photographer Elliott Erwitt spent his childhood in Milan. His family moved back to Paris in 1938, and immigrated to New York the following year. In 1941, they moved again, this time to Los Angeles; and, Erwitt's interest in photography began while he was a teenager living in Hollywood. He attended Hollywood High School and began working in a commercial darkroom in 1944 while still in school. In 1948 Erwitt moved to back to New York, where he met Edward Steichen, Robert Capa, and Roy Stryker. He spent another year traveling in Italy and France as a professional photographer. Drafted into the army in 1951, Erwitt continued to take photographs while stationed in Germany and France.

Robert Capa invited Erwitt to join Magnum Photos in 1953. A member of the prestigious agency ever since, Erwitt has functioned as its president for three terms beginning in 1968. In teh 1970s, Erwitt tried his hand at filmmaking. His documentaries have included: BEAUTY KNOWS NO PAIN (1971), RED WHITE AND BLUEGRASS (1973), which was made with the assistance of an American Film Institute grant, and the prize winning GLASS MAKERS OF HERAT (1977). Erwitt has also produced seventeen comedy and satire specials for Home Box Office. Erwitt has been creating books, essays, illustrations, and ads regularly featured in publications around the world for more than forty years.

Throughout his illustrious career, Eritt has captured everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Ronald Reagan on camera. And his historically grounded black-and-white prints are now legendary and have been exhibited in some of the most prestigious museums and galleries around the world including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Smithsonian Institution, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, Zurich's Kunsthaus and Cologne's Photokina. At present, Elliott Erwitt is editing his archive and still working for various advertising and magazine clients.

Based in New York City, Elliott Erwitt likes to travel obsessively. He also likes children and dogs.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Elliott Erwitt is among my favorite photographers, and it's really nice to have so many of his images, familiar and less-so, in one handy volume. But this book is not well designed. I'm at a loss how other reviewers could say that it is.

The book's format is distinctly vertical, and yet maybe half of its images are horizontal. For the vertical images, this book is great. But for the horizontal images, this book is a disaster: they are shrunk to fit the page width, and because they then take up less than half the book's page height, they are either stacked one on top of the other, to great distraction, or they are presented alone, at the top of the page, with an ocean of blank paper sitting below them.

Another reviewer has noted the poor performance of the book's spine to accommodate those occasional "full-size" horizontal images that split across the gutter. This is the bane of photo books. Publishers, please stop. Publish images flat, one per page, un-crowded, un-distracted. Given that Erwitt seems to not favor horizontal nor vertical, a square page design is called for.

At the top of this review, I noted how nice it was to have so many of Erwitt's images in one book. Yes, but let me also note that there are, in this rare case, too many. There is a lot of redundancy of similar images, with the second- and third-best of various sets displayed with equal weight as the obvious superior image. It pains me to say that, because usually I am complaining about the stingy number of images we're allowed to see.

And the text? Forget about it. Just drivel. Why are photo books so poorly written?

Nevertheless, all said and complaints duly lodged, I truly love Erwitt's view of the world. And it isn't just that his pictures are funny.
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Format: Paperback
I really like Elliott Erwitt's photos, and his sense of humour. All my favourite Erwitt photos are included in this book, plus a whole bunch more enjoyable images. The photos are well laid out and the printing quality is very good. The only minor complaint I have is that a small number of photos are spread across two pages, and because the book is so damn thick, it's difficult to open the book fully and view these images properly.
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Format: Hardcover
Erwitt's fine body of work is cleanly reproduced here and loosley arranged by subject matter. The work is allowed space to breathe and speak for itself, as there are very few textual interruptions. Erwitt's signature visual humour, evidence of the decisive moment, and the universality of humankind are all well represented. The full-size reproductions are rich with detail, sumptuous tones and precise grain. This is an excellent addition to any library of photography or coffee table, as well as an excellent introduction to the finest work of one of the world's great photographers.
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Format: Hardcover
Una edición impresinante: mas de 500 fotos en calidad FOTO! parecen reales... toda la obra de uno de los mejores fotógrafos del siglo...
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Format: Paperback
Out of my 300+ photo books, this one is one my definitive favorites. Usually I try to steer clear of retrospective books, because they often looks jumbled together. The reason, I presume, is because many photographers' style changes over the time of their career. Elliott Erwitt on the other hand, defined a visual language of witty, quirky and light hearted photography. However, he does sinister subjects with an equally disarming style. Since Erwitt has had the same style all the time, the photos from 1950 look stylistically similar to the ones from 1990 (or whenever the most recent picture was shot). As such, one can consider his whole career one never-ending project with the same approach. And this is why I feel that this book is so good.

An earlier reviewer pointed out that there are too many images in this book, and that is usually my gripe with most photo books too. However in this book it never feels boring. I doubt anyone would flip trough all 550 pages in one sitting and still get to study each photo closely. Instead, I consider it more of a catalog of Erwitts phenomenal eye for details and situations. Most of the pictures are situations where most of us would walk on by without even dreaming of there being anything photo-worthy.
I mean, a perched seagull looking at a plane is the cover photo!
Happens every day, but Erwitt captures it and points out to us all, and forces us to ask what the seagull is thinking when he sees a tin can full of humans flying by.

Said reviewer also points out that the prosaic texts are somewhat less than pulitzer-worthy. I agree wholeheartedly with that.

However the pictures in the book really need no captions. They ask questions, they don't tell!
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