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2013 November 8

Elliott Erwitt: In Living Kolor

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China Machado, Elliott Erwitt China Machado, Elliott Erwitt
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(NEW YORK) Elliott Erwitt is considered one of the greatest living photographers in the world, with a career that's involved shooting icons like Marilyn Monroe, John F. Kennedy, and Fidel Castro, as well as eye-catching civilians. Cole Haan also features him in their latest campaign and celebrated the release of his latest tome, Kolor, with a signing on Wednesday night at their Columbus Circle store. The book is his first of color photography and dates as far back as the 1950s. The Daily got to spend a few priceless moments with Erwitt, and he's quite the character.

Do you like signing books?
Not particularly.

How honest! Why did you pick your shot of The Misfits cast of Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, Clark Gable, and Arthur Miller for the cover of the book?
I thought it would be a good cover. It was a job like many others, except the people were more famous, that’s all. It was a long time ago so I don’t remember much of it.

What's your relationship like with the Cole Haan brand?
They were looking for people who were still standing up who were born in 1928 and I qualified. [Erwitt appears in their “Born in 1928” campaign, which also includes Dr. Maya Angelou, Apollo 13 astronaut Captain Jim Lowell, and China Machado.]

What’s the secret to your longevity?
Monkey glands. [Monkey Gland is a cocktail of gin, orange juice, grenadine and absinthe named after a surgical technique of grafting monkey testicle tissue into humans.]

We understand you're traveling this weekend. Where are you off to?
Moscow. I’m promoting my book on Scotland. It’s a world tour.

Do you ever think about retiring?
Yes. After I’m dead. 

Is there anybody that you’d like to shoot that you haven’t?
I’m not much for celebrity. To me they’re the same as non-celebrities.

Any non-celebrity you’d like to work with?
I’m kind of interested in shooting people who are not so nice. They’re more interesting. I’d be interested to do a story on this senator from Texas.  He’s a disgusting man. It would be interesting to spend time with him. I’ve spent time with a number of disgusting people in my past. They’re more interesting than the goody good ones.

Maybe you can shoot Putin while you’re in Russia.
I don’t think he’s going to be available, but if he is, I wouldn’t mind. 

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