I always enjoy a visit to the Beetles+Huxley gallery. The intimate space is ideal for a display of 30-50 domestic-size photographs and the catalogue is always good value at £10. The current exhibition shows prints by Elliott Erwitt to celebrate his 90th birthday, portrait and journalistic work and his private ‘snaps’.
The least satisfactory are the studio portraits. OK, they are workmanlike but not up to a Karsh standard – and that look with the head tilted back to catch the light might work with Marilyn Monroe but looks really odd on Che Guevara. Erwitt is better in ambient light as his portraits of JFK and Arthur Miller demonstrate.
With his wider journalistic work and particularly with ‘snaps’ we see the element of humour that Erwitt is famous for. Here, Nixon seems to be getting his point across to Kruzchev.
Elsewhere, we see a group staring at an empty picture frame, a woman apparently startled by a shop-window mannequin looking back at her, and boys dangling off an anchor rope in Tahiti.
And, of course, it wouldn’t be an Erwitt show without the doggy pictures.
Felix, Gladys and Rover are there, as is the dog excavating the beach at East Hampton and a sequence of an old Parisian man greeting a small dog.
Nothing gritty or challenging here (but who wants to be challenged all the time), just a delightful way of spending half an hour.
Gregory, T., and Huxley-Parlour, G. (2018) Elliott Erwitt. London: Beetles+Huxley.