Elliott Erwitt: What equipment does he use?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by david enzel, May 26, 2002.

  1. I recently discovered Elliott Erwitt's work. I gather he uses Leica for at least some of his work. Some photos look like they were made with short range telephotos. Does anybody know what camera bodies and lenses he uses? I am curious.
  2. In his book, "Personal Exposures," he states he usually uses a Leica with a 50mm, occasionally a 90mm.
  3. Whoops, I forgot to mention Leica "M" cameras. He didn't specify what version, but I strongly suspect an M3.
  4. Don't know exactly what he uses, but when I recently saw him showing his work at a show in Seattle, he had a great comment about that. After showing several photos from a series he did on nudist colonies, someone asked him what *he* was wearing on the shoot. Erwitt's response was: "A Leica."
  5. pcg


    In his early career he used a IIIF, then a IIIG w/ 50mm. He switched to an M3 in the mid-50s. No idea of what he's using now!
  6. For his personal/B&W stuff he has always used Leica RF - but at least in the 70's for commercial assignments he also carried a couple of large cases loaded with almost the full Canon F-1 line (every lens from 16mm to 300mm, mutiple bodies, motors, prisms, etc.), and he's also worked with 6x9 (and larger) view cameras. He's also made at least one motion picture documentary.
    cf. "Elliot Erwitt: the personal image" - Alskog books, c. 1976.
  7. Erwitt's recent book "Elliot Erwitt Snaps" indicates that most of the photos in the book were taken with a well-worn Leica M3 with 50mm lens and Tri-X or HP4 developed in Microdol.
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0714841501/qid=1022447816/sr=8 -1/ref=sr_8_1/102-4020188-4103350
  8. And since we're talking about Elliot Erwitt, I should mention I think his book "Personal Exposures" is by far his best one, with "Snaps" second. Other Erwitt books I've looked at are "To the Dogs," his museum shots book, and his lovers book.
    He might have a beach theme book too, but the photos in "Personal Exposures" just feel, well, more personal.
    My 2ยข.
  9. I have Erwitt's book called "Between the Sexes." It has many wonderful images, of which quite a few are quite funny.
  10. Yes, "Between the Sexes" is his lover's book I was thinking about.
    I first saw his work in a little gallery in Bath, England, during a vacation. I was blown away...I slowly started laughing, and by the end, there were tears in my eyes as I was trying to to laugh too loud.
    And since my last post, I was thinking why I thought "Personal Exposures" was his best book, since some of the images from that book are in his others. I think partly it's his funny and sad commentary in the front, and partly the rhythm and juxtaposition of the images.
    He really has a saddness in him, and also a real tenderness and wit. I think he must have spent much time alone to get the shots he has. He is unique, and one of my favorite photographers.
  11. Whoops. My last post should read "there were tears in my eyes as I was trying NOT to to laugh too loud."
  12. In his book "Private Experience" from 1974 it states on pg 81 that he mostly used a Leica M3 body for his personal pictures and mainly a 50mm Summicron f/2 collapsible. He also has a 35mm and 90mm (type not specified). He uses Tri-X rated at EI 400 most of the time.
  13. Just this morning I bought the italian version of the review 'PHOTO'. Answering about a current exposition here in Italy he says: "in my early years I used a Leica M3, then a Leica M6. Later also a Contax G2. Recently I use with pleasure also the Canon EOS especially because of the very useful 28-135 f3.5-5-6 Stabilized (!!). Other lenses: for Leica the Summilux 50mm f1.4 and the Tele-Elmarit 90mm f2.8. For Contax the Sonnar 45mm f2.0 and the Sonnar 90mm f2.8. Film: Kodak Tri-X developed in D-76. This is about my personal work. For the commercial work I use all the job needs (medium and large format, colors film, slides... I have to satisfy my clients)". That's all. Interesting.
  14. He apparently uses Leicas and Canon EOS, whatever the current models are. He's not short a few bucks but also not as quick on his feet, so AF and a longish zoom come in handy (blasphemy I hear you shout...!). I don't have either of his excuses yet often rely on my 200mm to stay candid without getting slapped...Oh and I did win a prize in a competition he judged (smug bastard...) http://www.colemanphoto.co.uk/about.html
  15. hi..i'm a free-lance photo-assistant in los angeles. i have worked with elliot when he has come out to los angeles there is not a leica anywhere near him...he shoots canon and he loves them...he uses two zooms but mainly canons 17-?(35) and then a mid range zoom, he loves that lens....his eyes are not what they used to be so he uses the cameras on auto focus....he shoots tri-x at 400....the only equipment that is old school is his old gitzo that he carries in this old shoulder case....i assist a lot of "name" photographers...and rarely and i mean rarely does anyone use a leica...they are slow, zooms are handy, and they don't have autofocus, it's about getting the picture and the new slr's are just so efficient and fast that thest people don't have the time to mess around with the leica.....the few times i have been on a job with a photographer using a 35mm rangefinder...they have been using either the contax g2 (most of the time) or that ricoh rangefider.....

Share This Page