Eliot Elisofon

In his early days with LIFE, Eliot Elisofon had no problem being "the world's greatest photographer," or any variation thereof, if he felt that it would help him get the pictures he wanted. Continually energetic and creative, he would use any legitimate means–a combination of imagination, pragmatism, inventiveness, perseverance, integrity, thoughtfulness, taste, and sheer will–to come back with the photographs he needed. And, in doing so, he created and defined the characteristics of the world-class photojournalist of mid-twentieth century America.

The concept of "greatness" came back in a very different way in an interview Elisofon gave in 1973 shortly before his death. The perspective of reviewing his days seemed to have mellowed him: "Photography is too personal a medium with which to achieve greatness easily. . . . I'm too diverse a man to be a great photographer. I have discipline, motivation. I'm a good photographer. But I'm a writer, painter, editor, filmmaker, too. I'm a complex human who needs to satisfy human needs. You can't be great without giving everything you've got to a single art. I haven't done that . . . I'm also a talker."

Another time, Elisofon simply stated, "photography has enriched my life." One need hardly add that his photographs continue to frame and enrich the lives of us all. Indeed, the fact that his photographs continue to have the capacity to touch our lives may be the single most outstanding quality that makes Eliot Elisofon endure as one of the world's "greatest" photographers.


source: https://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/2000/elisofon/elisofon2.html


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