Friday, February 16, 2007

He Is a Camera

by R.C. Baker @ The Village Voice

Elliot Erwitt, still active at 78, has a knack for delivering theatrical spontaneity within sharp and inventive compositions. In one black and white image, a silhouetted man with a huge umbrella leaps high off the ground, his legs in an achingly wide, pointy split; at stage right, two lovers embrace, their own umbrellas crumpling in the wind as the Eiffel Tower rises in the gray distance, a tumescent exclamation point to this narrative of exuberant love. Compare this posed 1989 shot (a clear homage to Cartier-Bresson's Paris pedestrian leaping across a puddle) to Erwitt's iconic photo from the Cold War: Nixon's ski-slope nose thrusts almost as belligerently as the finger he's using to poke Nikita Kruschev's chest during the famous 1959 kitchen debate in Moscow.


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