It was our second week of four in Lucca in July 2015. We were there to heal. It was very hot, and we had quickly settled into a rhythm of morning coffee in one of the many tiny streets still following the original Roman street pattern, an early lunch out or quick salad at home before hiding during the hottest hours in our air conditioned apartment, and heading out again late afternoon for wine followed by dinner al fresco or walking the city walls.

One such morning after sipping our coffees we strolled past the square that still follows the contour of the amfitheater that once stood there, down the Via della Fratta and came across the Lucca center for contemporary art, Lu.C.C.A. It had a retrospective of the work of photographer Elliott Erwitt.


Lucca center for contemporary art as seen in 2015 with the Erwitt banner on the facade. The center closed indefinitely in June 2021.

Born in Paris in 1928 to Jewish parents from Russia, after his early childhood in Milan he emigrated to the USA in his early teens just before the second world war. After the war he photographed in France and Italy, and joined Magnum in 1953.

It was a surprise to find this photographer and his work inside the walls of an ancient Tuscany town.
We enjoyed the love of irony and the candid shots of the little absurdities of life. Sometimes it took a moment to realise what we were seeing. His images made us smile, in a year that generally didn’t.

We bought two poster sized prints of Elliott Erwitts photos in April 2021. One the ‘dog legs’ photo, taken in NYC in 1974. The other a 1968 image taken in the Florida Keys. Both we had seen in the retrospective in Lucca. Since having them framed they hang above the piano in E’s home office.

Erwitt died this week at the age of 95. His work will continue to make me smile whenever I walk into E’s home office.


The catalogue of the Lucca Erwitt retrospective in 2015, that I pulled from the book shelves to leaf through today.

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