Don’t miss the Elliott Erwitt retrospective in Helmond!

By Geoff Naylor

Well worth a visit in Helmond is the exhibition dedicated to the work of Magnum photographer Elliott Erwitt.
After recent retrospectives in the Netherlands of other famous Magnum photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson (Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam – ‘FOAM’ – 2006) and Robert Capa (Jewish Historical Museum 2007) it’s now the turn of another Magnum member, Elliot Erwitt, to visit the Netherlands.

I was fortunate enough to visit both of the previous exhibitions and it’s clear to me that one thing all three artists have in common is an eye for a telling image.
Among the images shown here are a few photo’s of the great and famous, including one of Marilyn Monroe with director John Houston (and also her husband Arthur Miller?) and another showing a confrontation between Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev. But these aren’t the most interesting pictures portrayed.
Erwitt’s best subject matter is the ironic, humorous and sensitive portrayal of humanity. He also specialises in the sometimes bizarre relationship between man and dog. Some of his photo’s (see the example shown with this article) even have the potential to make you laugh out loud. My personal favourite, which is truly heart-warming, is a grainy black and white photo of a young mother (Erwitt’s own wife?) looking with undisguised devotion at her naked baby. A wonderful composition and a magical moment captured forever.
Also present are a few examples of Erwitt’s documentary filmwork, including ‘Red, White and Bluegrass’ and a portrait of Dustin Hofman.
The retrospective is in the Boscotondohal near Helmond Castle until 17th January.
For opening times see the Gemeentemuseum Helmond website http://www.gemeentemuseumhelmond

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