Leica Picture of the Year


Wetzlar, 12th October 2023. This year, Leica Picture of the Year collectors can look forward to a very special motif by New York Magnum photographer Elliott Erwitt. The limited edition print of Bulldogs, which is only available through Leica Galleries, is one of Erwitt’s signature dog pictures. The truism that dogs and their owners often have visual similarities is taken to a curious extreme in this motif taken in the year 2000.

The photographer discovered this perfect symbiosis between dog and owner by chance, while walking around his local neighbourhood. He remembers the moment well: “I had set out from my studio just around the corner on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, taking a walk with my friend Hiroji Kubota, but I wasn’t carrying a camera. I saw this scene and asked him if I could borrow his camera. He kindly handed me his Leica and I used up the whole film.” By the last picture on the role, all the compositional and conceptual elements were in the right place, the superimposition of the heads was perfect. The absurdity of the picture was further accentuated when the second bulldog to the left of the picture, adopted the same pose as the rather surreal-like dog and master pair. With patience and perseverance, Erwitt had once again managed to capture one of his typical images, because, as he says, “Many pictures lead to one good one.”

Now, at age 95, Erwitt can look back over nearly eight decades of tireless picture-taking. The elegant levity and refined sense of everyday humor, make his motifs unforgettable. His precise eye, his sense of fun, and his feel for the moment convey the ambiguity of life. The fact that dogs often play a leading role has long become his trademark. Erwitt was born in Paris in 1928, the only child of Russian immigrants. He grew up in Milan before his family was able to flee to New York. He gained his first experience with photography in Los Angeles, but, as of 1946, New York City was to be the center of his life. In 1953, he became a member of the Magnum Agency. Journalistic assignments alternated constantly with commercial photography, in addition to personal projects, which Erwitt today considers his most important works. Many of his images are counted among the most famous motifs in photographic history so that Erwitt’s induction into the Leica Hall of Fame is both appropriate and well-deserved.

Since 2021, Leica Camera AG has been selecting a Leica Picture of the Year, taken by one of the outstanding photographers who have been inducted into the Leica Hall of Fame Award. Elliott Erwitt is the 13th photographer to date to have received the award in honor of his life’s work. With the intention of sharing some of this success with all Leica enthusiasts, a Leica Picture of the Year is chosen each year. The Leica Picture of the Year is available exclusively at 27 Leica Galleries worldwide. This opens up the opportunity for all collectors and Leica friends to build up a unique selection of limited editions by great Leica photographers. Following Ralph Gibson and Thomas Hoepker, it is now one of Elliott Erwitt’s images that has been selected as Leica Picture of the Year.

Additional information is available here.

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