“Elliott Erwitt, Silence Sounds Good”, a portrait of the Iconic photographer Elliott Erwitt by Photographer Adriana Lopez Sanfeliu will have its North American premiere at DOC NYC on Sunday, November 10th.
Elliott Erwitt has spent his entire adult life taking photographs, of presidents, popes and movie stars, as well as regular people and their pets. His work is iconic in world culture while his life is largely unknown.
“Elliott Erwitt, Silence Sounds Good” is a quiet, intimate portrait of an artist at work, who values companionship of all kinds above idle conversation, through the eyes of his friend, photographer Adriana Lopez Sanfeliu. Elliott’s life’s work is a testament to the power of the image.
Photographer Elliott Erwitt was born in Paris in 1928 to Russian parents, Erwitt spent his childhood in Milan, then emigrated to the US, via France, with his family in 1939. As a teenager living in Hollywood, he developed an interest in photography and worked in a commercial darkroom before experimenting with photography at Los Angeles City College. In 1948, he moved to New York and exchanged janitorial work for film classes at the New School for Social Research.
Erwitt traveled in France and Italy in 1949 with his trusty Rolleiflex camera. In 1951, he was drafted for military service and undertook various photographic duties while serving in a unit of the Army Signal Corps in Germany and France.
While in New York, Erwitt met Edward Steichen, Robert Capa and Roy Stryker, the former head of the Farm Security Administration. Stryker initially hired Erwitt to work for the Standard Oil Company, where he was building up a photographic library for the company, and subsequently commissioned him to undertake a project documenting the city of Pittsburgh.
In 1953, Erwitt joined Magnum Photos and worked as a freelance photographer for Collier’s, Look, LIFE, Holiday and other luminaries in that golden period for illustrated magazines. To this day, he is for hire and continues to work for a variety of journalistic and commercial outfits.
In the late 1960s, Erwitt served as Magnum Photo’s president for three years. He then turned to film: in the 1970s, he produced several notable documentaries and in the 1980s eighteen comedy films for HBO. Erwitt became known for benevolent irony, and for a humanistic sensibility traditional to the spirit of Magnum.
Adriana Lopez Sanfeliu (Director, Writer, Producer, Image and Sound) was born and raised in Barcelona. After earning a BA in Art History and a degree in Graphic Design she moved to New York City to study documentary photography at the International Center of Photography. New York City became her home where she worked as photojournalist for the International Press for over a decade.
In 2006, the National Press Photographers Association granted her the Nikon Sabbatical Grant for Life on the Block, a photo essay exploring the challenging and shifting lives of young Puerto-Rican women living in Spanish Harlem, Manhattan, New York.
Adriana Lopez Sanfeliu is a visual story teller. A Photojournalist, Documentary photographer and filmmaker dedicated to portray the human condition. Building intimate relationship and trust with her subjects are signatures of her work.