Elliott Erwitt. Museums and dogs


Castellano Català
We all remember that image from the Prado Museum where Goya’s “majas” appear. The one dressed, with only one woman as spectator, and the one naked, with a group of men watching.

Moreover, this photograph is one of the biggest icons that a lot of us have seen and we have even used in some articles, mentioning the museums and audiences, the gender perspective, etc. However, almost no one knew who the author was. Well then, it is Elliott Erwitt, the one that takes photographs from museums and puppies!

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Prado Museum, 1995

Elliott Erwitt (Paris, 1928 – Argentina 2001); a young man that was hired by the agency Magnum at a very early age, and had as masters some cracks of the photography, like Robert Capa. He won several prizes of photography, like the one of the magazin Life in 1951. Photojournalist socially engaged; his pictures have a little bit of irony and review, looking always for a particular detail and almost unique. Just similar as Cartier-Bresson did.

Nevertheless, another part of his photograph is the daily life and the common elements that we can see in our cities. They always come with a critic and pensive air, just like his collection of pictures of dogs, playing with the image that remains and giving more importance to the animal than to the person, and also confronting it to the rest of the city.

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Jumping dog, 1989
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Dog legs, New York, 1974

 

The museums, as we said at the beginning, are also an important part in his production. He photographs them together with the visitors, showing their attitudes and behaviours in a space very related to the social sphere. The museum not only as a center to contemplate the works, but also as an agent that enables the people in there to interact. Here is a small selection we have made:

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Tate Gallery, London, 1993
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Acropoly’s Museum, Athens
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Musée de l’Orangerie, París
USA. New York. 1988. Metropolitan Museum of Art.
USA. New York. 1988. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

These images look like Erwitt wonders if the museum is really something conciliatory, if the people that go there connect with each other, if the city enables us to connect, if society is becoming empty, or lonely.

Guiomar Sánchez Pallarès
Photos from Wikimedia Commons

Another photograf styles from Erwitt: https://fotografiaperfecta.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/fotografos-elliott-erwitt/
Post from the blog La Piedra de Sísifo: http://lapiedradesisifo.com/2006/04/09/elliott-erwitt-en-el-prado/

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