Dog dogs and other photographs: Major Elliott Erwitt exhibit opens

Elliott Erwitt once said he never consciously set out to photograph dogs. It’s just that when the famed photographer once started to go through a box of his prints, he realized that lo and behold, dogs appeared so many of them.

Erwitt’s books of his dog photos including “Dog Dogs” (1998), and “Woof” (2005) but said such volumes were not collections of “dog pictures but of dogs in pictures.”

Last year, UT’s Ransom Center acquired the archive of noted 89-year-old photographer which included 47,500 vintage and modern black-and-white prints as well as the corresponding negatives and contact sheets.

Now, after a considerable curatorial effort, more than 200 images are on exhibit, representing Erwitt’s impressive seven decades of work, almost all of which are from Erwitt’s years with the Magnum Photos agency.

“Elliott Erwitt: At Home Around the World” goes on view today at the Ransom Center and continues through Jan. 1.

Admission to the Ransom Center is always free.

 

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Elliott Erwitt (American, b. France 1928), Midleton, Ireland, 1970. Gelatin silver print. Harry Ransom Center Collection © Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos

Through his lens the legs of Great Dane, a woman in boots and a chihuahua become emblematic of a witty moment in the city.

In fact that 1974 image is one of Erwitt’s best-known, representative not just of the urban scenes that characterize much of his best work but also one of his favorite subjects: dogs.

Elliott Erwitt (American, b. France 1928), New York, New York, 1974. Harry Ransom Center Collection © Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos

Elliott Erwitt, New York, New York, 1974. Harry Ransom Center Collection © Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos

Women and children, crowds on the beach or at fairs and families at the dinner were also subjects on which Erwitt frequently trained his lens, often capturing a sense of wry humor but always with a certain tenderness and never at the subject’s expense.

Erwitt’s playful yet sensitive eye captured black and white candid shots of everyday yet often absurd situations or poignant and touching scenes. Whimsical portraits of dogs, children at play on the street, crowded city scenes and lone women became some of Erwitt’s favorite subjects.

Museum hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday (Thursday until 7 p.m.), noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Harry Ransom Center, 300 W. 21st St.
hrc.utexas.edu

Check out the Austin360 interactive guide to Austin’s art and cultural museums.

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Elliott Erwitt (American, b. France 1928), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1950. Gelatin silver print. Harry Ransom Center Collection © Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos

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