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René Burri had learned how to capture aesthetically pure, artfully composed and illuminated objects – Swiss object photography in other words – at the Zurich School of Art and Design, where his teacher was Hans Fisler (1891-1972), the supreme master of subtle gray tones. The climate of the early fifties was remarkably conducive to this austere, rigorously objective style, and Burri fell under the same spell, inspired not least by Alfred Willimann, whom Finsler had recruited to teach typography and graphic design.
Making numerous trips to Brazil over the years, René Burri built up a comprehensive portrait of the country, which captures its iconic coastline, vibrant nightlife and some of the city’s most famous buildings. Burri’s perspective takes the viewer up high onto rooftops, finding symmetry and pattern in architecture, and down onto street level with candid portraits of Rio’s inhabitants that go beyond stereotypes.