Martin Edward ELKORT

Obituary
4 entries
  • "Thank you for your beautiful photographs and your blessed..."
    - Trish Blassingame
  • ""I only wish to have met you in person, but loved getting..."
  • "I cherish you in my heart, always."
    - Stefani Twyford
  • "May the God of Abraham be with the family and friends as we..."
    - Annie C
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1929 - 2016
Martin Elkort, acclaimed documentary street phographer, thoughtful photography essayist and author, died November 19, 2016, at his Los Angeles home, surrounded by his loved ones. He was 87.

People were important to Martin Elkort: Old and new friends and family, especially beloved life-mate, Edythe, who he lost just 4 months prior, and children, Stefani, Daniel and Alicia. When the end was inevitable, he gathered them all into his company and made time for each and every one; reminiscing, bidding farewell and sharing his boundless love of humor.

Martin was born in New York April 18, 1929 to Esther and Lewis Elkort. Growing up amidst the Great Depression, Martin developed a love of photography at a very young age, selling his first professional image at 10. At the age of 15 Martin contracted polio and spent four months in the hospital. When he returned home to convalesce, his parents bought him his first Ciroflex camera and he set out around Manhattan taking pictures. Throughout the 1940's and 1950's, Martin roamed the urban landscape of New York City in search of the perfect picture. His indelible images of simpler times remind us that the human experience can be a joyous one. Poignant and insightful, his photographs reflect the Great American Melting Pot in all its unpolished glory.

While studying painting at Cooper Union in New York City, Martin joined the New York Photo League, an organization of photographers that served as the center of the documentary movement in American photography. There he studied under masters and became adept at what he refered to as 'stealth photography.' He developed the skill of walking right up to a person and taking their photo without them even realizing it. After marrying the love of his life, Edythe in 1953, he realized he would have to support his family by means other than photography. He moved to New Mexico where he was an art editor and staff photographer for New Mexico Magazine. His family moved to Los Angeles in the early 1960s where Martin worked in the advertising industry. After a brief time in Alaska the family moved back to New York where Martin worked in the travel industry. In the mid 1970s he relocated to Los Angeles where he and Edythe operated a successful travel agency. After Martin retired in 1996 he wrote several books and magazine articles, worked as a food critic, and re-ignited his interest in photography. Martin Elkort's work is widely exhibited and can be found in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Getty Museum, The Columbus Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, The Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, The Jewish Museum in Brooklyn as well as many corporate and private collections.

A documentary exploring his life and work, Martin Elkort, An American Mirror, is a heartfelt tribute created by his daughter, award winning producer Stefani Twyford in 2014. The film can viewed at http://martinelkort.com/.
Published on NYTimes.com from Dec. 5 to Dec. 6, 2016