By Jennifer Tisdale
While visiting the Harry Ransom Center in September 2011, Elliott Erwitt noted that “a good photograph is pretty obvious. It tells you a story very quickly. When it works, that is a good photograph.”
The more than 280 photos of 90 sequences in Erwitt’s new book Sequentially Yours (teNeues, 2011) certainly meet that qualification.
Visit the Ransom Center’s Facebook page to pick your favorite Elliott Erwitt photo for the chance to win a copy of Sequentially Yours.
Publisher teNeues describes Sequentially Yours as Erwitt presenting “a sense of vignettes, each showing a sequence of photographs shot just moments apart. Gifted storyteller that he is, Erwitt gives you a sense of what happens next, the end point being sometimes comic, sometimes poignant, and often with a wink.”
In his more than 60 years as a working photographer, Erwitt has shot iconic images of historical figures and celebrities as well as photographs of ordinary people and everyday occurrences. Sequences in the book reveal a couple’s unsuccessful efforts to close their beach umbrella in windy weather, the interactions of the cast on the film set of The Misfits (1961), and other actions and events.
“In Sequentially Yours, Elliott has created a new form, somewhere between single exposures and film,” writes Marshall Brickman in the foreword. He describes Erwitt as having “… an affection for empty spaces, places where his subjects have been or will be in a moment, or for things or people who just disappear.”
Erwitt has remarked that taking good pictures requires visual sense, including a sense of composition and design. Erwitt’s other essential is curiosity, which is evident in these sequences.
Erwitt is the author of more than 20 photography books, including Photographs and Anti-photographs (Thames & Hudson Ltd, 1972), Personal Exposures (WW Norton & Company, 1989), Personal Best (teNeues, 2006), and Elliott Erwitt’s Paris (teNeues, 2010).
The archive of photographer Elliott Erwitt, which includes more than 50,000 signed photographic prints, is housed at the Ransom Center. The Erwitt materials are currently being prepared for public access.