Elliott Erwitt (1928-present, French-American) is known for his candid shot black and white photographs. He photographed Marilyn Monroe, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara and also captured the historic meeting between President Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev. Born to Jewish-Russian immigrants in Paris, on the eve of WWII the family immigrated to the United States. Erwitt then studied photography and film making in California.
Erwitt was influenced by the great photographers of the time: Edward Steichen, Robert Capa and Roy Stryker. He soon became a freelance photographer and was invited to join Magnum Photos by Robert Capa. Erwitt claims that much of his success has come from being at the right place at the right time.
Even though Erwitt is known for his photographs and love of dogs, publishing four books centered on them, Son of a Bitch, Dog Dogs, Woof and Elliott Erwitt: To the Dogs, he also photographed cats, primarily including them in his photographs of women. Either in the arms of famous actresses, surrounding old “cat ladies” , or as symbols of fertility and motherhood, Erwitt captured cats’ importance as social and cultural icons.