Celebrated US photographer Elliott Erwitt dies at 95


French-born US photographer Elliott Erwitt poses on February 2, 2010 at La Maison Europeenne de la Photographie (MEP) in Paris. Erwitt died on November 30, 2023 in New York at the age of 95, according to US media reports. — Photo: AFP

US photographer Elliott Erwitt, renowned for capturing the lighter side of his subjects, their canine companions and celebrities, has died aged 95, the Magnum agency where he was a mainstay said Thursday.

"He died peacefully at home surrounded by family," the storied agency, founded in 1947, wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

The New York Times reported that he passed away in New York on Wednesday.

"His images have helped build our general understanding of who we are as a society and as humans, and have inspired generations of photographers despite the changes in the industry and trends," said Magnum Photos president Cristina de Middel.

Erwitt was widely recognized for capturing unique moments in his images, including historic events such as the famous 1959 encounter between then-Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and Richard Nixon, then the US vice president.

Alongside such milestone images, Erwitt had a keen eye for the quirky and offbeat, giving dogs and their owners parity.

"It was Erwitt's firm belief that photography should speak to the senses and emotions rather than intellect," Magnum added.

Born in Paris on July 26, 1928 to Russian parents, Erwitt grew up in Milan before emigrating to the United States with his family in 1939.

After ten years in New York, he moved to Los Angeles, took up photography and worked as a photographer in a lab specializing in celebrity portraits.

After meeting legendary photographer Robert Capa, Capa sponsored him to join the Magnum agency at the height of the age of photojournalism.

Alongside his photographic career, which saw him photograph Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy, General de Gaulle and Che Guevara, he has also made several documentaries and published over twenty books. — AFP

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