Last week, I decided to look through the photography books I have on my bookshelf again for some inspiration. Seeing the books on the couch, my daughter started to be particularly interested in a series of three small books from the Photo Poche collection at the French Actes Sud publishers. And as she is in her puppies phase, she wanted me to look with her through the book with photographs by Elliott Erwitt, which features one of his dog photos on the cover (New York, 1974).
Together with my daughter, we read the book approximately 25 times and it was really fun seeing her completely absorbed and interested in the pictures. By looking through the pictures again, Erwitt’s photo sequences of two, three, and four pictures were those where his humorous and sometimes cynical approach really stick out. While a photograph usually stills life and immobilizes a specific moment, sequences reveal the afterlife of a picture. I just came across an interesting article on the website of The Guardian discussing Elliott Erwitt’s law of intended consequences featuring the sequence of a beer drinking man on the beach and his wife sunbathing.
Thus, when my daughter decided that 25 times flipping through the book was enough, I looked through my photos to identify maybe a set of pictures of the same scene which might be interesting to present as a sequence. Actually, this is an ex-post approach to sequences, because basically all my previous pictures of the same scenes were taken in order to just keep a maximum of one photo of the scene.
Looking through the books with my daughter was not only extremely fun but many of the pictures really had the intended effect: new inspiration for the next time out in the streets. And then, I will keep Erwitt’s sequencing approach in mind and try to create an intended sequence.
Here is the link to Elliott Erwitt’s profile on Magnum Photos.