Street Photographer Eric Kim Discusses the Photograhpy of Elliott Erwitt
One of Elliott Erwitt’s first published photos was of a Chihuahua next to a lady’s shoes. Dogs would remain one of his favorite memes—with four published books of canine portraits—as would his witty social commentary. Invited to join the Magnum agency in 1953, Erwitt became renowned for his visual storytelling, capturing funny—and sometimes absurd—moments from Main Street to Pennsylvania Avenue. Most recently Erwitt, now in his 80s, adopted an alter ego, André S. Solidor, as a send-up to the sometimes pretentious art world.
For street photographer Eric Kim, Erwitt’s visual candor has inspired him to see himself as a sociologist with a camera, seeking out images that not only say 1,000 words, but crack a joke while doing it.
How were you introduced to Elliott Erwitt’s work?
I was introduced to Elliott Erwitt’s work when I first started to get really interested in street photography. I started studying the masters, many of them from the Magnum agency. I stumbled across Erwitt’s work and was blown away by his humorous juxtapositions, sharp eye, and social commentary, which comes across throughout his work, especially when he was shooting during times of segregation.