Legendary Magnum photographer Elliott Erwitt is being honored with the Leica Hall of Fame Award 2023. To celebrate, Erwitt has selected 50 of his iconic images for an exhibition on view at the Leica Gallery in Wetzlar through the end of January 2024. In addition, one of his images, which cleverly shows someone sitting on a stoop in New York with their bulldogs, has also been selected as the Leica Picture of the Year.
With a portfolio that spans seven decades, the 95-year-old photographer is known for his black-and-white candid photos that are tinged with humor. Whether he's photographing Marilyn Monroe in New York or complete strangers in Paris, Erwitt always captures a moment of emotional impact.
“You can find pictures anywhere. It’s simply a matter of noticing things and organizing them. You just have to care about what’s around you and have a concern with humanity and the human comedy,” he shares.
“You only need the humble ability to bring order into a motif, to compose a picture, or to recognize and reflect a certain mood. From time to time, you might produce an image that says something. That’s already enough. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt when you happen to be in the right place at the right time.”
Erwitt got his start as a professional photographer in 1948 in New York City. His big break came in 1953 when he was invited to become part of the Magnum Agency by co-founder Robert Capa. Since then, he's divided his time between photographing politicians and celebrities, as well as commercial assignments and his own personal street photography.
As part of the celebration of Erwitt's career, Leica is offering a limited edition of the Picture of the Year. Taken by Erwitt while on a stroll in New York, the photo of a dog owner in symbiosis with his animals is the culmination of everything that makes his work great. Starting on October 30, the limited print, part of an edition of 80, will be available at all 27 Leica Galleries globally.