Spotlight

The Dance: Elliott Erwitt Captures a Tender Moment in Valencia

13th August 2021
Valencia, Spain, 1952 Elliott Erwitt

Words Ava Howard

13th August 2021

Read Time: 4 minutes

Elliot Erwitt, is best known for the honesty and humour that emanates through his photographic practice. In this impromptu snapshot, Erwitt captures an innately intimate moment between the photographer Robert Frank and his wife, Mary, on the Spanish coast of Valencia.

Valencia, Spain, 1952, displays a portrait of a couple dancing, cheek to cheek, in their kitchen. The intimacy of the shot is heightened by the photographer choosing to include the door frame in the shot, implicating the viewer in a moment of voyeurism, peering in on an intently private moment. Yet the couple are not disturbed, displaying open playfulness and tenderness whilst wrapped up in each other’s presence. The plant and lampshade in the foreground are out of focus, and this partially withholds and obfuscates our gaze to the scene, further emphasising the privacy of the moment. Completely unstaged, this scene seems spontaneous and fleeting.

Valencia, Spain, 1952 Elliott Erwitt

    Furthermore, the natural mess of the kitchen and tilted camera angle encapsulates this organically romantic moment. The use of light is natural and impactful, the shadows produced are not particularly dramatic but help render the scene in soft focus.

    Erwitt has been inspired by the enigma of ‘couples’ over the length of his career, stating “The subject is of great interest to me, having been half of one myself now and again – blissfully sometimes, sometimes not so…”.

    FeaturedElliott Erwitt

    Paris, France, 1989 Elliott Erwitt

    The ArtistKnown for his satirical humour and sharp wit, Elliott Erwitt (born 1928) rose to fame after he was invited to join Magnum Photos by founding member Robert Capa in the 1950s. He has since become one of the world’s most successful and influential photographers, having produced over twenty retrospective photography books and been honoured by numerous solo shows at establishments such as the Smithsonian, the Museum of Modern Art and the Art Institute of Chicago.

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