Spending Time With Elliott Erwitt

will van overbeek's photo, originally uploaded by kirkinaustin.

Kirk Tuck and Elliott Erwitt walking to the Humanities Research Center at UT Austin. Photograph ©2009 Will Van Overbeek.

I was privileged to spend the better part of a day with one of the greatest living masters of photography last Thurs. My very dear friend, Will Van Overbeek, asked me along on a mission to pick up Elliott Erwitt from his hotel, take him to the Harry Ransom Center (home of one of the largest collections of historic photography on the face of the planet) and join a tour of the facility with the photo curator, Roy Flukenger, and world renowned Houston photographer, Arthur Meyerson.

We stopped by a display in the main lobby. It was the first photograph ever done.

After the tour Will, Mr. Erwitt and I went off to lunch. We decided on a Mexican food spot called, El Azteca. Located on the east side of Austin, on East 7th street, it's been an Austin favorite for 58 years.

After that we made a quick stop at the Progress Coffee shop where I cajoled Mr. Erwitt into showing me his Leica MP (inscribed with his signature by Leica....) while we drank Machiattos and then off the to Lyndon Baines Johnson Library to see the joke telling LBJ animatronic display. Mr. Erwitt was moved to make a few photographs.

We ended up at the Blanton Museum for a sound check and a run through of his slides and then took him back to his hotel.

He's an amazing photographer. I'm so happy that the Austin Center for Photography brought him here to speak.

Just amazing. And much appreciation to Will for including me in the adventure.

A fun day for a photographer. That's for sure!


Dave Jenkins said...

THE greatest living photographer IMO, not just "one of." I'm multicolored with envy.

kirk tuck said...

Dave, I agree that Elliott Erwitt is one of the three living photographers I most admire. But I would not be so quick to discount Irving Penn and Robert Frank.

He is the one whom I would most like to spend time with. I'm very lucky I was able to.

Simon said...

He is a genius, a legend and a mensch. SO jealous.
Hey don't forget Eve Arnold in your list...

Gary said...

Looks like EE was dressed for the Austin weather? Loved hear his remarks on his images that I've looked over time and time again. Thanks for the blog posting Kirk.

kirk tuck said...

We had one cool day but he put the sweater aside pretty quickly because "cool" for Austin is in the 70's.....

I went to his Friday presentation and really enjoyed it. Makes me want to see his collection of television commercials.

David Ingram said...

His presentation and discussion of his photos was excellent! A great sense of humor.

kirk tuck said...

David, I love the fact that his presentation was so restrained. Too often photographers make a big deal about the technical stuff. His talk was all about just presenting the images.

Ellis Vener said...

name dropper ;-)

With the photographic arts, it really is Irving Penn, Elliot Erwitt and Robert Frank who completely define the great polarities of what the medium is capable of and strongest at.

As it always is terrific fun talking with you yesterday.