TEMPER TANTRUMS

Elliott Erwitt

Elliott Erwitt. Temper Tantrums. Courtesy Magnum Photos

American photographer Elliott Erwitt shot Temper Tantrums in 1981 in their apartment in New York. The image in which his daughters, Sasha and Amy, play the lead role, depicts a homely and all too familiar scene, immediately raising the question with who one empathises the most. The capacity to ask universal questions with one image makes Erwitt's work timeless. Asked if he considers his photographs to be classics, Erwitt once replied, "I have no opinion about my images. The scenery in old photographs may be visibly 'outdated,' but that is only secondary. It's about the people, the emotions, and those are of all times".

Erwitt, who has had a long and distinguished career as commercial photographer and photojournalist, is best known for his iconic and humoristic black-white photography. While capturing some of the most famous persons of the 20th century, such as Richard Nixon, Che Guevara, and Jackie Kennedy, the majority of Erwitt’s images are populated with children and animals.

1981 – digital reproduction from analogue image, print size: 30 x 40 inch (76.2× 101.6 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Magnum Photos

Elliott Erwitt
°1928, Paris

Often considered a master of style, Elliott Erwitt's photography is best known for the candor and humor that shines through his black-and-white pictures. Erwitt began dabbling in photography as a teenager living in Los Angeles, shooting weddings. Later, he shot photos for the Army in France and Germany; later living in New York, he met fellow war photographer Robert Capa, who invited him to join the Magnum Photos agency. Erwitt is responsible for making some of the most prominent portraits of the 20th century, capturing Marilyn Monroe, Richard Nixon and Marlon Brando, among others. Elliott Erwitt's joyful photos with dogs — particularly images of them jumping — has become another calling card of his. He produced over twenty retrospective photography books and has been honoured by numerous solo shows at establishments such as the Smithsonian, the Museum of Modern Art and the Art Institute of Chicago.