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PRO84 Elliott Erwitt - Emulation Assignment October 09



To emulate the style of Elliott Erwitt, Born Paris 1928.

This will become clearer as you read further and as you study his work. However, at this moment, your task is to find a human, tender, amusing or downright funny moment involving people or animals and to depict it in a way that we are seeing the moment - not the decisive moment - just the snapshot moment where two things came together and the result was the unexpected - a tender human moment - or funny, but always real life and making us appreciate the 'sense of the ridiculous' all around us.

He uses juxtaposition of elements not meant to be together, but when they are, we smile.


Of course his work was not always to make us smile or laugh, but I do feel that this is his most self-effacing asset. Through his work, we are part of the end product and can share the 'indecisive moment' (as he himself puts it) with him. Elliott Erwitt was not above engineering those moments – in fact, he used to carry a noisy horn to spook dogs into jumping at the moment he took the photo.


But he also saw the potential in many situations. This is where your imagination comes into play. Do you see a Billboard which would be hilarious with (say) horses underneath it? Or even the child carrying a balloon, which looks like a substitute head at different angles? Or like one of Elliott Erwitt’s classics, the woman sitting with a dog on her lap – and it is the dog we see for the top half of her body.



WIT: I took my daughter and niece to the park to play so I could look for EE situations. I had no luck so I decided to use the kids for props. We walked along a trail and I had the girls act out every sign we came to. This was one of their best interpretations. For post processing I cropped the shot square and created two b&w versions (one to work on the sky and trees, and another for the sign and girls) and overlayed them with some layer masking.


I really like Erwitt's sense of irony and humor, it fits me well. Although there were no particular EE photos that I used for inspiration, I am hoping my submission has his sense of juxtaposition and humor. It was very frustrating not to be able to find other/better examples around town. I think this is one of those things where if you look too hard you wont be able to find it. Just let it happen and hope you have your camera with you.


Color, non-square version

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Taken on October 17, 2009