Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Photographer Profile ~ Werner Bischof

Werner Bischof  (1916 – 1954) was born in Zürich, Switzerland. When he was six years old, the family moved to Waldshut, Germany, where he subsequently went to school. In 1932, having abandoned studies to become a teacher, he enrolled at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zürich, where he graduated cum laude in 1936.

From 1939 on, he worked as an independent photographer for various magazines, in particular the renowned magazine du based in Zürich. 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, something that did not endear him to picture editors looking for hot topical material.

He travelled extensively from 1945 to 1949 through nearly all European countries from France to Romania and from Norway to Greece. His works on the devastation in post-war Europe established him as one of the foremost photojournalists of his time. In 1949, he joined Magnum Photos, which at the time was composed of just five other photographers: Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger, David Seymour, and Ernst Haas. The focus of much of his post-war photography was showing the poverty and despair around him in Europe, tempered with his desire to travel the world, conveying the beauty of nature and humanity.

In 1951, he went to India, working for Life magazine, and then to Japan and Korea. For the magazine Paris Match he worked as a war reporter in Vietnam. In 1954, he travelled through Mexico and Panama, before flying to Peru, where he embarked on a trip through the Andes to the Amazonas on 14 May. On 16 May his car fell off a cliff on a mountain road in the Andes, and all three passengers were killed. (only nine days before Magnum founder Robert Capa lost his life in Indochina.) Fifty years later his son Marco gathered 70 previously unpublished photographs of his father's in Questions To My Father.

[via Magnum Photo and Wiki]

Werner Bischof, Toy Soldiers, Zurich, Switzerland, 1941

‘I felt compelled to venture forth and explore the true face of the world. Leading a satisfying life of plenty had blinded many of us to the immense hardships beyond our borders.’ ~ Bischof

Korean War press corps

hiroshima bomb victim, Japan

Korean War
Korean War
Korean War

Korean War
Korean War ~ food station
Korean War Prison camp

Korean War ~ Prison Camp

Korean Soldiers before engagement

Polish Boy



Japanese Show Girls

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