Leica Hall of Fame Award 2023

Elliott Erwitt

With his incomparable pictorial humour, he has long been considered a photographic legend. In his rich oeuvre, Elliott Erwitt tells simple, yet universal, stories – whether he is depicting ordinary people, celebrities or dogs. His motifs are direct and entertaining, sensitive and incisive, American and cosmopolitan. This year he is the recipient of the Leica Hall of Fame Award for his life’s work. For the exhibition honouring this event, the 95-year-old photographer has put together a selection of 50 of his favourite pictures, taken over seven decades.Erwitt’s images have an emotional impact on viewers, while usually guiding them towards more far-reaching and profound ideological considerations. To be able to capture all this in a single moment, and transfer it into a picture, may well be the secret behind his photography. In the best sense of the word, his photographs are witty. “You can find pictures anywhere. It’s simply
a matter of noticing things and organising them. You just have to care about what’s around you, and have a concern with humanity and the human comedy,” the brilliant storyteller explains in a rather understated manner. “You only need the humble ability to bring order into a motif, to compose a picture, or to recognise and reflect a certain mood. From time to time, you might produce an image that says something. That’s already enough. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt when you happen to be in the right place at the right time.” Without a doubt, Erwitt has managed to achieve such images on countless occasions. With his unmistakable view of the world, he has – time and again – gifted his viewers with unforgettable moments.

The son of Russian emigrants, Elliot Erwitt was born in Paris on July 26, 1928. He grew up in Italy and France. In 1939, he emigrated to America with his family. His interest in photography emerged when he was a teenager, living in Hollywood. He began working as a professional photographer in New York in 1948. In 1953, Robert Capa invited him to become a member of the Magnum Agency, which Erwitt was to preside over for a number of terms. His career led him to becoming one of the best known and busiest photographers of our times. Starting in 1970, he also began to make films and work for television. While constantly on the move,
New York City remained the centre of his life.


Pictures that have touched the world, moments that remain unforgotten: Leica Camera AG has been inducting outstanding photographers into the Leica Hall of Fame since 2011 – artists whose vision of the world has moved something, has changed something. Timeless iconic images that reveal the conditio humana, and have become part of our collective memory, offer testimony to their creativity. Steve McCurry was the first photographer
honoured with the Leica Hall of Fame Award in 2011. He was followed by Barbara Klemm, Nick Út, René Burri, Thomas Hoepker and Ara Güler. In 2016, the award was granted to Joel Meyerowitz, in 2017 to Gianni Berengo Gardin; and, in 2018, to Bruce Davidson and Jürgen Schadeberg. In 2019, Walter Vogel was honoured; followed by Ralph Gibson in 2021. With Elliott Erwitt, the number of recipients of the Leica Hall of Fame Award has reached thirteen.


The idea that dogs and their owners often enjoy great similarities seems to certainly be the case in this motif. Elliott Erwitt shot a complete film before capturing the perfect symbiotic image of the bulldog and the man sitting behind him. He came across the motif by chance, while taking a walk near his studio in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Since 2021, Leica Camera AG has granted the Leica Picture of the Year recognition to outstanding
Leica photographers who have been inducted into the Leica Hall of Fame. A Leica Picture of the Year is selected every year, with the idea of sharing the life’s work of the honoured photographer with all Leica enthusiasts. The limited edition collector items are offered exclusively at Leica Galleries worldwide. Following Ralph Gibson and Thomas Hoepker in previous years, the 2023 Leica Picture of the Year is by Elliott Erwitt.

Leica Hall of Fame Award 2023 - Elliott Erwitt
10/13/2023 - 01/21/2024
Leica Gallery Wetzlar