Description

Werner Bischof was a Bauhaus trained studio photographer in Switzerland, before becoming a member of Magnum soon after the founding members in 1949. Somewhat of a reluctant photojournalist, Bischof struggled with the commissioning process, preferring to pursue his subjects independently. His heightened sense of composition remained with him into his photojournalism. Taken from above, this street scene captures some of the frenetic energy of the city streets where taxis and pedestrians jostle together.

 

I believe it is one of our biggest tasks – the task of our life – to do everything possible to counter poverty and to build a freedom-loving future

Werner Bischof
© Martin Parr | Magnum Photos

Werner Bischof was born in Switzerland in 1916. He studied photography with Hans Finsler in his native Zurich at the School for Arts and Crafts, then opened a photography and advertising studio. In 1942, he became a freelancer for Du magazine, which published his first major photo essays.

In the years that followed, Bischof traveled in Italy and Greece for Swiss Relief, an organization dedicated to post-war reconstruction. He was the first photographer to join Magnum with the founding members in 1949.

Disliking the ‘superficiality and sensationalism’ of the magazine business, he devoted much of his working life to looking for order and tranquility in traditional culture. Despite this he worked on commission in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Indochina. In 1953, he traveled throughout Mexico and Panama, and then on to a remote part of Peru, where he was engaged in making a film. Tragically, Werner Bischof died in a road accident in the Andes on 16 May 1954.

© Werner Bischof | Magnum Photos

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