Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

Werner Bischof

with 2 comments

par55109

Although he had been dead nine days earlier, the news of Werner Bischof’s death arrived to New York on the same day that it was announced the legendary Robert Capa had been killed in Vietnam. For their employer, Magnum photo-agency, it was a shocking double-blow.

On May 16th 1954, Bischof was travelling in the Andes with a Swiss geologist and a Peruvian driver when their Chevrolet station wagon  slid off the road between Chagual and Parcoy and plunged 1,500 feet into a deep ravine.

Unlike Capa, Bischof chased the tranquility of tradition in his photos, eschewing news events. Trained as a painter, he offered a unique perspective, as he transversed Europe as an independent photographer and a photojournalist for Picture Post, documenting the war’s devastating effects on European culture and life. Orphans looked out forlornly from a train window in Hungary. The Reichstag stood in ruins. In Greece, prefabricated houses were built.

5500.jpg

In 1949, he became the sixth member of Magnum Photos and traveled to India and Far East, working for Life, and Paris Match. In Bihar in India, he documented a famine. His wife, Rosellina, recalled their trip to Japan in a diary entry: “It is snowing today – Tokyo is enchanted – Werner and I visited the Meiji shrine in Tokyo. The mood is magical, the snowfall swallows the noise of the city. Everything appears just in black and white. Suddenly Werner runs away with his camera. I stop, terrified. What happened? He comes back after a little bit. Still out of breath but overjoyed he admits: I just took the picture of Japan!”

But the photo he was mainly remembered for was the last picture taken on that fatal trip to Peru: a little boy  walking between the Andean village of Pisac and the town of Cuzco playing the flute. Posthumously, it became one of the symbols of Edward Steichen’s The Family of Man exhibition, a showcase of commonalities that bind people and cultures around the world.

 

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

February 26, 2017 at 5:38 am

Posted in Politics

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Your well researched, carefully chosen quotations breath new life into these classic pictures. Thank you!

    jamesmmcardle

    February 26, 2017 at 9:30 pm

  2. Hunting images of a great photographer, you can truly see that he was trained as a painter. Thank you for your research!

    Dudau

    March 31, 2017 at 12:54 pm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: