The vast work of the legendary photographer's flamboyant alter-ego is being celebrated at this Mayfair expo
From mundane images of a family holiday to a fish smoking a cigar, the photographer's latest book, 'The Art Of Andre S. Solidor a.k.a Elliott Erwitt', is a comprehensive collection of Erwitt's alter-ego's work and is being celebrated with an exhibition at Paul Smith. Erwitt has been taking iconic pictures for over half a century, having learnt his trade taking black and white photos of classic Hollywood stars. He started taking photos under the pseudonym Andre S. Soldier to satirize the idea of the egoist fashion photographer and speak out against pretension and fakeness in the industry. As Soldier, Erwitt is a flamboyant character who enjoys gratuitous nudity, dead animals and his own image. As himself, he enjoys travelling, taking pictures of his favourite animal, dogs, and being ironic.
Dazed Digital: Why did you invent your alter-ego André S. Solidor?
Elliot Erwitt: Seemed like a good idea at the time, and to separate from what I normally do. And to see if it would work.
DD: In what ways does Solidor's work satirise the contemporary photographer?
Elliot Erwitt: I hope it pokes some fun at the so called current "art photographers". Check with the question and answer part in the book.
DD: You have often resisted using digital manipulation on your photographs, do you think photographers at the moment rely too much on photoshop?
Elliot Erwitt: If photoshop were to be banned most consumer magazines would come out with blank pages. The answer is yes indeed, photoshop has eroded the basic quality of photography which is believability.
DD: Is there anyone who you would love to photograph but haven't?
Elliot Erwitt: I would have loved to photograph a day in the life of Chairman Mao Tse Tung.
DD: You have had such a varied life and lived in so many places? Which country or place has inspired you the most?
Elliot Erwitt: Ireland and Brazil.
DD: What is it about dogs that has inspired you to photograph them so many times?
Elliot Erwitt: Dogs are very nice uncomplicated friendly sympathetic beings. They can be found all over the world. They don't mind being photographed and they don't ask for prints.
'The Art Of Andre S. Solidor a.k.a Elliott Erwitt' is on at Paul Smith, 9 Albemarle Street, London W1, from February 23 an onwards