Exercise – Elliott Erwitt, New York, 1974

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Erwitt Eliot – New York 1974

This image is one of Erwitt’s many Pictures with dogs in them. At first sight it looks like a couple out with their small dog, but the viewer can suddenly see that the legs on the left belong to another far bigger dog, quite possibly a Great Dane,

The three subjects are carefully placed in the middle of the frame, with the picture being framed so that the large dog’s back legs do not intrude into the picture to give the game away. There is a slight intrusion into the image of the large dog’s thigh and  stomach. The presence of a nipple suggests that the large dog is probably female. The camera is set at very low level, and I guess that it was probably taken with a twin lens reflex, a camera commonly used by professional photographers in that era.

It was almost certainly taken in early winter, given the coat and hat on the small dog, the boots worn by the human in the picture and the fact that there are still leaves on the ground. There are no hard shadows, but the light is largely coming from behind them. The background is nicely out of focus, but the blurred images of trees suggest that it was probably taken in Central Park. The part of the image exactly behind the subjects is quite white so as not to intrude into the image, however I suspect a bit of dodging has been used here to remove any distracting detail.

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